Spelling & Pronunciation - Words with Silent Letters


Hello, how are you? Excellent. Welcome to the lesson of words with silent letters. A

silent letter is a letter that we don't say. This is one of the reasons why spelling, I

myself hate spelling in English for this reason, and also pronunciation in English is so difficult.

A lot of the times in these words, you will have letters, and most of the time your brain

says, "I have to say all of these letters." But, oh no, not these ones. These words all

contain a secret silent letter. I've broken them down into categories for you. So, the

first one, the first three, the silent letters at the beginning of the word, and then the

next four, they're in the middle of the word. Once you learn to do this, it becomes easier,

your pronunciation improves, and maybe your spelling will get better. But there's always

that beautiful thing called spell check that will help you. They even know this. So, let's

go dive right in here to the first one. The first letter is "k", so we usually say "k".

If you look at this word, you would spell it "k-n-o-w", "k-n-o-w". However, we don't

say "k-n-o-w". We reduce this to "n-o-w". So, not only the beginning letter "k" is silent,

but "w" is also silent. So, instead of saying "k-n-o-w" or "k-n-o-w-w-w", we just say "n-o-w".

We use this like "do you know him?" But, again, the spelling, you have to spell it like this.

With all of the words, you must spell it with the silent letters. If you don't, it's just

not even a word. But when you say it, take the silent letter out. The next one is "knee".

The part of your leg that connects your thigh to your calf is called your "knee". Got a

foot here. So, the joint that moves your leg in the middle is a "knee", not "knee". Looks

like "knee". The next one is a "knife", not "knife". I remember being a child, and I would

think of the word as "knife". And then when I learned that it was the thing on the table

that goes with the fork, I was very confused. My parents told me it's not a "knife", it's

a "knife". So, happy young Ronnie. Next one is "knit". "Knit" is something that you can

do. Mostly women knit, but you take thread or yarn or wool, and you stitch it together,

and you can make a sweater or a scarf. You might see we use knitting needles, and you're

actually looping the fabric together from a ball. Yay. This looks like spaghetti, but

it's not. It's "knit". And the next one is "knuckle". "Knuckle" is the place on your

hand. We have two knuckles. We have here and here. Some people, like me, crack their knuckles.

Some people really hate that. Yay, it worked. So, the part on your hand here is called your

"knuckles", not your "knuckles". Good. Next one. These are words that we do not say the

"p". The first one is a really long word. It means "psychology". Anytime you see the

word "ology" in English, you can remember it's the study of something. So, "psy" is

the study of the mind. So, anytime you have the word "psy", it means "mind", and "ology"

is "study". So, "psychology" is the study of the mind. And actually, we say this like

a "k". So, this is "psychology" with the silent "p". The next one is a "psychiatrist". A "psychiatrist"

is a doctor who can prescribe you medication if you have a psychological problem. Again,

we take out the "p", and it's "psychiatrist". We change the "ch" to a "k". And last one is

an illness that I had when I was five years old, I remember. I thought I had diarrhea,

but I actually had pneumonia. I couldn't say this word when I was a child. I looked at

it and went, "Diarrhea". I remember I was six years old, and I was in kindergarten,

and I had to go to the hospital because I had pneumonia, not diarrhea.

Next one is the "w". The "w" with the "r", it overpowers it. We don't say the "w" when

we say this word "rap". There are two meanings if you look at this. "Rap" means to cover

something in paper, but if you actually spell it without the "w", "rap" is a kind of music,

you know. So "rap" without the "w". Next one is "wrinkle". Wrinkle are the lines in your

face as you get older. If you make strange faces, you get lines in your face. These are

called wrinkles. The other kind of wrinkle is if you wash your clothes. I hope you wash

your clothes. When you wash your clothes and you take them out of the washing machine,

they have many folds in them. Some people like to iron their clothes. I don't. When

you iron it, it takes the folds or the wrinkles out.

Next one is, for all you Star Trek fans out there, "wrath". Famously, the "Wrath of Khan".

I have no idea what the "Wrath of Khan" is, but I will tell you that the "w" is silent,

so don't say it. Next one is "right". It has the exact same pronunciation as this, meaning

your right hand. "Right" is what I just did here on the board. Pronunciation is the same

as this. Again, we don't say the "w". And last one, "wrist". Do you know what your wrist

is? Your wrist is this part of your hand -- of your arm. So you have your hand, your wrist,

and then the rest of your arm. So the "w" again is silent.

Okay. Moving right along, we're going to go to where the silent letters are in the middle

of the word. These you have probably heard a hundred times if you are studying English.

You look at this word and go, "shu-al-d", "ku-al-d", and "wu-al-d". And then people

look at you funny, and you're like, "What? I shu-al-d of studied pronunciation on engvid.com."

All of these "l"s are silent. So it sounds like, "shu-d", "ku-d", and the thing that

we get from trees, "wu-d". That's easier. Next one. These two words, "a-l-d" and "a-l-d",

are the same words. They also sound like this. The "s" in these words are silent. We don't

say "iz-l" and "i-z-l". We say, "a-l", "a-l", "a-l". This "a-l" is a small island. This

"a-l" is -- if you're on an airplane or a bus or a train, it's the place that you walk

between the seats. We also would use this in a movie theater. So if you go in an airplane,

there are the seats, and then the place that you walk down is called the aisle. Okay?

This word is really, really common because we have bank cards. And when you go to a store,

people will say, "Would you like to use your debit card?" Huh? "Debit card." But this word

is different. This word is "debt". "Debit" is actually -- there we go -- "d-e-b-i-t".

We have to say the "b-i-t" when we say "debit", but this word is "debt". And if you use your

debit card too much, you become in debt. "In debt" means you do not have money, and you

owe or have to give people money. So it's not "debit", like "debit card". It's "debt".

Next one is "doubt". It looks like "dub-a-tuh". It's not "dub-a-tuh", it's "doubt". When you

doubt something, it means you do not think it is true or real. So I can say, "I doubt

that your debit card will work." Got it?

The next and the last one in our beautiful list of silent letters is the letter "t". This

is one of the most popular letters in the English language, but for this one, we don't

even get to say it. The first word is "listen". We don't say "listen"; we say "listen". "Listen"

is like hearing; you do it with your ears.

The next one is "soften". "Soften" means to make something soft or not as hard. So, for

example, if you have a really dark, deep, heavy voice, you can soften your voice and

make it lighter or not as hard or harsh.

Then we have a really, really common word that I hear a lot of people say, "castle".

It's not "castle"; it's "castle". A "castle" is a place a long, long time ago where kings

or queens or very rich people would live. My attempt to draw a "castle" will not be

that good. Just believe me when I tell you it's a big house where kings and queens live.

And the last one is "often". Now, I would say this word "often". I actually pronounce

the "t" sound in it, but most people don't. In North America, people would say "often".

I'm inclined to say "often". It's your choice. From this lesson, if you want to say "often",

the "t" is silent. That's perfect.

So, when you're in your castle and you're in debt because you've used your debit card

too much, don't cry. Don't worry. Go to www.engvid.com. Check out some more lessons. Bye.