The Worst Alphabet Book Ever! 英会話 英語 アミック
Everyone who has ever studied English started, at some point, at the very beginning:
A is for Apple, B is for Ball.
Learning the English alphabet and phonics (the many sounds of the language) is incredibly important for everyone from an adult just starting to learn English as their second language to a English-speaking child learning to read in their first language.
Every alphabet book is a little bit different; one might use R is for Rabbit, another might have R is for Rocket. But while most books choose easy words that even new learners will know, one book chose a very different path.
The problem with English is that it isn’t always written phonetically— which means that words are not spelled exactly how they sound. Think about common words like “knee” or “write” or “Wednesday”. Say them to yourself. Do you hear every letter? No, you don’t: some of the letters are silent.
Both second-language learners and native speakers often have trouble with silent letters. And so, two authors decided to make an alphabet book that doesn’t just teach kids that C is for Cat. It also teaches them that C can be for Czar.
P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever teaches English readers a word with silent letters for every letter of the alphabet. Some letters are easy: the letters P, K, and W all have many words with silent letters to choose from. Other letters are more difficult. For example, the authors found that there is only one word in the English language that has a silent B, and it is not one that many people (myself included!) know.
Here are some of the words the authors have included in their Worst Alphabet Book Ever. How many do you already know? Can you guess how to say these silent letters?
Silent C: Czar
The czar was the name of the ruler of Russia, like a king or an emperor. Sometimes this word is also written tsar, even though it sounds the same.
Silent P: Pterodactyl
A pterodactyl was a kind of flying dinosaur. This word comes from two Greek words: pteron, meaning wing, and dactyl, meaning fingers.
Silent K: Knight
A knight was a warrior who served European kings and queens. They wore metal armor and rode horses.
Silent T: Tsunami
A tsunami is a very large, dangerous wave that can destroy buildings and trees. The word tsunami actually came from Japanese!
What other words can you think of with silent letters?