200: A new spelling poem!

Written for you, by Amanda, to help you learn the long vowel spellings.


Hi everyone, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English pronunciation podcast. My name is Mandy, and this is our special 200th episode.

We have a special podcast today. I have written a poem to help you learn all the complicated spelling patterns of the long vowel sounds. I certainly won't claim that it's a masterpiece of poetic art, but I do sincerely hope it'll help you learn the common spelling patterns that go along with long vowel pronunciation. Here goes!

Here's a poem to help you spell each long vowel sound
Listen closely, it's probably the most complete list around
Long vowels are the vowels that sound like their letter name
Five letters that are vowels, five long vowel sounds just the same
Long a, e, i, o, and u as in 'cake,' 'keep,' 'bike,' 'home,' and 'cute.'
Or five more examples: 'break,' 'sleep,' 'hike,' 'dome,' and 'mute'

There are four common spellings for the long a
There's 'a-consonant-e' as in 'make' and 'cake' and 'plate,'
or 'a-i' as in 'rain' and 'paid' and 'bait.'
Then we have 'a-y' as in 'say' and 'play' and 'day.'
And finally 'e-i-g-h' as in 'eight' and 'sleigh' and 'weigh.'

Long e has even more spellings to know,
so close your eyes and memorize and listen to the show.
We have 'e-e' as in 'keep' and 'free' and 'seem.'
Then 'e-a' as spelled in 'each' and 'tea' and 'dream.'
'Piece,' 'grieve,' and 'achieve' are all spelled 'i-e-consonant-e.'
While simply 'i-e' midword works as in 'field' and 'priest' and 'briefly.'
Or long e can be spelled '-y' at the end of a word as in 'happy,' 'marry,' and 'pony,'
and sometimes even an '-e' by itself will do as in 'she,' 'he,' 'we,' and 'me.'

Two of those spellings for long e, the spellings 'i-e' and '-y,'
need some special care, though, because they also spell long i.
Yes, 'i-e' is pronounced long i in words like 'tie' and 'pie' and 'die,'
and so is '-y' at the end of the words 'shy,' and 'sky,' and 'dry.'
The, of course, there's 'i-consonant-e' as in 'hide' and 'smile' and 'white.'
Or the 3-letter spelling 'i-g-h' as in 'sigh' and 'light' and 'bright.'

It's time to move on now to the sound long o,
Beginning with 'o-w' as in 'known' and 'own' and 'snow.'
'o-consonant-e' will work as in 'joke' and 'rope' and 'vote,'
as will the 'o-a' spelling in the words 'toast' and 'soap' and 'boat.'
Sometimes 'o' alone will do as in the word 'hello.'
'Most' and 'go' and 'both' work, too, with just a single letter 'o.'

The final long vowel sound to spell is the sound long u.
It shares its spelling with the oo sound, which you know as "oo."
We have 'u-consonant-e' as in 'cute' and 'huge' and 'mule,'
followed by 'u-e' you see, as in 'cue' and 'hue' and 'fuel.'
Lastly we have 'e-w' as in 'few' and 'pew' and 'skew.'
Yes, it's a lot to memorize, that I know. But I have faith in you.

If you want to see it all written down, I know where to look.
Just go to pronuncian.com and buy my handy book.
Pronunciation Pages 2 includes the spellings for every American English sound.
Search the Internet high and low, no better resource will be found.

So there you go. Let me know what you think. You can comment on our Facebook page, which is www.facebook.com/EnglishAssembly, or tell us what you think on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @pronuncian.

As the poem says, these spellings, and, in fact, the spellings for all 43 sounds of American English are in our book, Pronunciation Pages 2, which you can download as an ebook from our website: www.pronuncian.com, or order as a physical book from our website or Amazon.com.

That's all for today everyone. This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. SLA is where the world comes to learn.

Thanks for listening. Bye-bye.