Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Sounds represented by letters

This post is in response to a Tweet by Lucky Girl.

LuckyGirlLinguist @GinaCookeLEX Oct 18 Replying to @luqmanmichel @jeffrey_bowers and 4 others.

“You're betraying your ignorance. There is no such thing as the correct pronunciation of phonemes. Phonemes are abstract psychological categories, not pronounced phonetic units. Phone memes are pronounced differently in different words and different dialects, and that's normal.” (Lucky Girl Linguist)


My response:

The first step in teaching a phonics program is to teach the correct sounds represented by the letters. However, if the sounds are pronounced incorrectly it can make the next step, which is blending for reading, all the harder. It’s worth the time and effort to ensure children are pronouncing the sounds correctly. My whole blog is mainly on pronouncing the sounds represented by letters correctly.


Many people pronounce ’f’ as ‘fuh’ and ‘t’ as ‘tuh’ that adds an extraneous (extra) sound at the end of the consonants. With this incorrect pronunciation you are actually producing two sounds instead of one; ‘f’ and ‘uh’ and ‘t’ and ‘uh’.


Think of the word: ‘fat’ if you sound it out as ’fuh’ + aa +tuh’ and then blend them together you get ‘fuhaatuh’ a long way off from ‘fffaat’ and then ‘fat’.

When a child knows the proper sounds represented by the letters, he or she can use those sounds to sound out or decode a word. The more accurately the sounds are taught to children, the easier it will be for them to learn to read and spell. Study the videos below to learn the correct pronunciations of sounds represented by letters.

Here is my video on why we should not add extraneous sounds to sounds represented by consonants.

In case this girl says that what I am saying is anecdotal she may want to read my post on something similar written in Equipped forReading Success by Dr. David Killpatrick at

Here are videos on how not to teach the sounds represented by letters as well as a video on how to pronounce the sounds without extraneous sounds.

Now, let us wait for this Lucky Girl Linguist to comment on my post to continue as suggested by her on Twitter.


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