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Elements and Procedures

Teacher's Edition of Chapter 9

Silent Final <e>

Back in Array 22, as you were getting your first data for your Twinning Rule, you also worked with some words where the silent final <e> was deleted when you added a suffix that began with a vowel, as in a word like taping: tap/e + ing. In this chapter and the next we will examine that process, working toward a clear and reliable statement of a Final <e> Deletion Rule. This chapter will discuss the different functions of silent final <e>. The next chapter will discuss how and when final <e> is deleted.

Silent Final <e> as Vowel Marker. A silent final <e> often affects the sound of the preceding vowel. Sort the twelve words in Array 32 according to the vowel sound each contains:

Array 32

cap
cape
dud
dude
fine
gyp
met
mete
not
note
fin
type
 
Short Vowel Sounds Long Vowel Sounds
[a] cap [a] cape
[e] met [e] mete
[i] gyp, fin [i] fine, type
[o] not [o] note
[u] dud [u] dude

Write a sentence describing how silent final <e> affects the sound of the preceding vowel in these twelve words: In a stem one syllable long silent final <e> will mark a preceding vowel as long.

In order to test and expand the description you just wrote, sort the words in Array 33 into the appropriate blanks:

Array 33

sum
club
see
rod
flute
shad
pope
lie
cone
tie
blue
scrape
glue
rob
glut
pop
let
con
site
tree
scrap
flee
rate
mate
toe
sue
gym
sit
rode
dye
shade
rat
mat
scheme
style
 
Vowel Spellings Short Vowel Sounds Long Vowel Sounds
<a> [a] [a]
scrap mate
shad scrape
rat rate
mat shade
<e> [e] [e]
let see
tree
flee
scheme
<i> [i] [i]
sit lie
tie
site
dye
<y> gym style
<o> [o] [o]
rod pope
rob cone
pop toe
con rode
<u> [u] [u]
sum flute
club blue
glut glue
sue

So far you've seen that a silent final <e> will mark the vowel in front of it as long, if the <e> and the vowel come right together (as in flee, tie, toe, glue, or dye) or if there is only one consonant letter between them (as in mate, site, rode, flute, or style). Sort the words in Array 34 into the appropriate blanks:

Array 34

price lodge niche trice mettle
prince lode nice trickle mete
valve dunce twinge ape solve
vale dune twine apse sole
cage wince scene bridge lace
cadge wine sense bride lance
 
Words with a Short Vowel Words with a Long Vowel
prince sense price scene
valve trickle vale trice
cadge apse cage ape
lodge bridge lode bride
dunce mettle dune mete
wince solve wine sole
niche lance nice lace
twinge   twine  

Now write a sentence that summarizes what you learned in Array 34 about how many consonants can come between a vowel and a silent final <e> when the final <e> marks the vowel as long: A silent final <e> marks a preceding vowel as long if no more than one consonant comes between the vowel and the <e>.

So far you've seen that a silent final <e> will mark the vowel in front of it as long, if the <e> and the vowel come right together or if there is only one consonant letter between them. There are three groups of words that complicate that conclusion a bit. Look at and pronounce the words in Array 35. Then sort them into the appropriate blanks:

Array 35

hast
haste
change
paste
scythe
past
chang
baste
waste
bathe
strange
rang
range
taste
tithe
 
Words with a Short Vowel Words with a Long Vowel
hast haste waste
past change strange
chang paste range
rang baste taste
scythe bathe tithe

Teaching Note. Students may be somewhat mystified by the word chang. Webster's Third Unabridged actually has three entries for it: (1) (Brit. dial.) a loud noise, uproar; (2) a Tibetan beer; (3) (usu. cap.) a Naga people of the India-Burma frontier. Quite an array of meanings!

Write a sentence in which you describe how the effect of silent final <e> is unusual in the words that end in the spellings <ange>, <aste>, and <the>. In words that end in <ange>, <aste>, and <the> the silent final <e> will mark the preceding vowel as long even though there are two consonants between the vowel and the <e>.

Teaching Note. There is one notable holdout to this conclusion: flange, which has a short rather than a long vowel. Flange, which is a form of an earlier word flanch, did not appear in our language until the 19th century. Apprarently the need to mark the soft <g> was more pressing than the expectation of a long vowel before <nge>. Concerning words like bathe and tithe: The digraph <th> often behaves like a single letter. Notice that though two letters, it spells a single sound. Other examples: scathe, swathe, blithe, lithe, writhe, clothe.

Look at and pronounce the words in Array 36. Then sort them into the appropriate blanks:

Array 36

addle
apple
noble
ladle
rubble
ruble
rifle
riffle
pebble
staple
goggle
cable
cobble
ogle
quadruple
 
Words with a Short First Vowel Words with a Long First Vowel
addle pebble noble staple
apple goggle ladle cable
rubble cobble ruble ogle
riffle   rifle quadruple

Write a sentence that describes the effect of silent final <e> on the preceding vowels in words that end <le>: In words that end <le> the silent final <e> will mark the preceding vowel as long if there is only one consonant between the vowel and the <le> but not if there are two consonants.

Now write a sentence that summarizes all that you have learned so far about the effect of silent final <e> on the length of a preceding vowel: In words that end <le> a silent final <e> will mark a preceding vowel as long if there is only one consonant between the vowel and the <le> and will mark the <a> long in words ending <aste> and <ange>, but normally it will only mark a vowel as long if no or only one consonant comes between the vowel and the <e>.

The following puzzle contains 16 words, all with a silent final <e>. But be careful: The words run left and right, up and down, and diagonally. They are tightly interwoven and often overlap.

ounce
recognize
acquire
definite
raise
seize
desperate
hie
sense
sincere
ease
oblige
siege
waive
acquaintance
clothe
 
r e g i l b o
a e u r d m c
i c s i e g e
s n e s f e d
e a s e i z e
n t s h n i s
s n h t i n p
e i k o t g e
p a n l e o r
o u n c e c a
u q u w e e t
a c q u i r e
w a i v e v e

The pattern you just described for silent final <e> as a long vowel marker is a very widespread and powerful pattern in English spelling. It is one of the first patterns you learned, probably, when you started to learn to read.

There is one small complication to the description that we might as well look at. Pronounce these words:

fun
fuse
us
use
cut
cute
mutt
mute
rum
fume
cub
cube

As you read through those twelve words, you should have noticed that although they all behaved exactly as your description of silent final <e> predicts, something else was going on, too. In cute, for instance, you should have heard the expected long [u], but you should also have heard a [y] sound creeping in there. (The sound [y] is the first sound in you.) The [y] creeps in before the long [u]: [kyut]. You can hear it clearly if you compare cute with coot. Or mute with moot.

That extra [y] (which is called a glide) is no big problem. We can simply treat the vowel sounds in cute and coot as two different forms of long <u>. Just remember that although several words have that [y] glide in them, there is no letter <y> spelling it.

Silent Final <e> as a Consonant Marker. Sometimes silent final <e> does not affect the preceding vowel, but does affect the preceding consonant. The sound a consonant spells is often marked by the vowel that follows it.

For instance, the consonant letter <c> spells the sound [s] when it is followed by the vowel letters <i>, <y>, or <e> — including silent final <e>: chancing, chancy, chance; mysticism, choice, farce. A <c> that spells [s] before <e>, <i>, or <y> is called soft <c>.

The consonant letter <c> spells the sound [k] everywhere else, including the end of the word: career, discuss, nucleus, critic, arc. A <c> that spells [k] is called hard <c>.

The letter <g> can also be soft or hard, depending on the letter that follows it. Usually, the letter <g> spells the sound [j] when it is followed by the vowels <i>, <y>, or <e>, especially silent final <e>: gin, gyp, general, lounge, siege. When <g> spells [j], it is called soft <g>. Otherwise, <g> spells [g]— as in gun, gap, fig— and is called hard <g>.

Teaching Note. In Old English <c> regularly spelled the sound [k], except when it was followed by <e>, <i>, or <y>, in which case it spelled [ch]. But during the Middle English period the Norman French scribes used <c> to spell the French sound [ts] before <e>, <i>, or <y> and to spell [k] elsewhere. In time the [ts] eased to [s]. So, although the value of what we now call soft <c> has changed, our distinction between hard and soft <c> comes from both the Germanic side of the language family tree (via Old English) and the Romance side (via Norman French). This distinction arose from the influence of the vowel following the <c> upon the pronunciation of the consonant sound spelled by the <c>. You can experience some of the pressure leading to the distinction if you compare the way you pronounce the [k] sounds in kit and cot: In kit you should feel the [k] being pronounced further forward in your mouth, in cot further back. The difference arises because while pronouncing the [k], your mouth gets itself set to pronounce the upcoming vowel: in kit that vowel is [i], which is pronounced toward the front of your mouth, so your tongue moves forward while pronouncing [k]. In cot the vowel [o] is pronounced towards the back of your mouth, so your tongue moves back while pronouncing the [k]. Over the centuries this modest difference in pronunciation of the [k] increased to our current distinction between hard and soft <c>.

The distinction between hard and soft <g> is a perfect historical parallel to that between hard and soft <c>: The distinction between hard and soft <g> arose from the influence of the following vowel on the pronunciation of the consonant sound being spelled by the <g>. Front vowels, usually spelled <e>, <i>, or <y>, tended to urge the pronunciation of the preceding consonant more towards the front of the mouth, so that [g] developed into [j].

This explanation is particularly true of words that came to English from or through Latin and French (exs: gelatin, gender, general, genesis, genius, gentle, genuine, geography, germ, gesture, giant, gigantic, ginger, giraffe, gist, gymnasium, gypsum). In native English words (exs: geese, gild, girdle) and in words from German and Scandinavian (exs: get, geyser, gift, gill, girth, give, gear), hard <g> is common before <e>, <i>, or <y>. The soft <g>, [j], by and large echoes developments in late Latin, when the consonant spelled <g> came to be pronounced [j] before front vowels, which were usually spelled with <e>, <i>, or <y> Those developments did not take place in Old English, German, and Scandinavian.

Sort the words in Array 37 into the four groups described:

Array 37

arc
big
bulge
change
choice
cringe
dance
disc
fence
fierce
flange
fleece
garlic
hag
hinge
Icelandic
lunge
ounce
peace
prince
rug
singe
swig
tic
tinge
voice
voyage
zinc
 
Group 1:
Words Ending in <c>
Group 2:
Words Ending in <ce>
Group 3:
Words Ending in <g>
Group 4:
Words Ending in <ge>
arc choice big bulge
disc dance hag change
garlic fence rug cringe
Icelandic fierce swig flange
tic fleece   hinge
zinc ounce lunge
  peace singe
prince tinge
voice voyage

In Group 1 in Array 37 <c> spells what sound? [k] Why? Because there is no <e>, <i>, or <y> after it.

In Group 2 <c> spells what sound? [j] Why? Because there is an <e> after it.

In Group 3 <g> spells what sound? [g] Why? Because there is no <e>, <i>, or <y> after it.

In Group 4 <g> spells what sound? [j] Why? Because there is an <e> after it.

Write a sentence that describes how silent final <e> affects a preceding <c> or <g>: Silent final <e> marks a preceding <c> or <g> as soft — that is, is pronounced [s] or [j], respectively.

The spelling <th> is also affected by a silent final <e> following it. The spelling <th> is a digraph — that is, two letters working together to spell a single sound and behaving in many ways like a single letter. Notice, for instance, that in the contrast between bath and bathe, the final <e> marks the long <a> just as if <th> were a single letter. But you should also hear a difference in the sounds <th> spells in bath and bathe. The difference is the same as the difference between the <th> in thin and the <th> in this. When they write out these sounds in their pronunciations of words, most dictionaries usually represent the sound in bath and thin with <th> and the sound in bathe and then with <th> in italics or underlined. We will use [th] to represent the sound in bath and thin and [ th ] to represent the sound in bathe and then.

The [th] in bath is voiceless. The [ th ] in bathe is voiced. In voiced sounds the vocal cords vibrate; in voiceless sounds they do not. Sometimes, even if you have trouble hearing the difference between these voiceless and voiced sounds, you can feel the difference. Put your fingers lightly on your throat just up under your chin and say bath. You should feel nothing as you pronounce the [th]. Then say bathe. You should feel some vibration in your throat as you pronounce the [ th ]. The vibrations are caused by your vocal cords.

A silent final <e> will mark a preceding <th> as voiced, pronounced [ th ]. Sort the words in Array 38 into two groups, depending on the sound <th> spells in them. If you're not sure of the sound in a word, check in your dictionary.

Array 38

clothe sheath teeth wreathe scythe
loath sheathe teethe wreath seethe
loathe wrath length moth myth
 
Words in which <th> = [th] Words in which <th> = [ th ]
loath clothe
sheath loathe
wrath sheathe
teeth teethe
length wreathe
wreath scythe
moth seethe
myth  

Write a sentence that describes the effect of silent final <e> on a preceding <th>: A silent final <e> marks a preceding <th> as voiced, pronounced [ th].

Silent Final <e> as an Insulator. Silent final <e> serves other purposes than marking the sounds of preceding vowels and consonants. Sometimes it is used to keep certain letters from coming at the end of the word. Sort the words in Array 39 into the three groups indicated.

Array 39

booze
bronze
brows
browse
cease
curs
curse
curve
dens
dense
give
groove
have
hoars
hoarse
laps
lapse
moos
moose
pars
parse
plaque
pleas
please
shelve
spars
sparse
statuesque
teas
tease
tens
tense
thieve
tongue
wheeze
 
Group 1:
Words Ending in <s>
Group 2:
Words Ending in <se>
Group 3:
Words Ending in Other Letters
brows browse booze
curs cease bronze
dens curse curve
hoars dense give
laps hoarse groove
moos lapse have
pars moose plaque
pleas parse shelve
spars please statuesque
teas sparse thieve
tens tease tongue
  tense wheeze

Only sometimes do words ending in <s> have a final consonant sound different from words ending in <se>, as when tens, for instance, is [tenz] while tense is [tens]. But the difference in sound is not always there. Laps and lapse, for instance, both end with a [s] sound. Silent final <e> is important to <s> in a different way.

Look closely at the <s> words in Group 1 in Array 39. What does the <s> mean in these words? Is it part of the base, or is it a suffix? You may find these questions easier to handle if you make up sentences for the words:

(a) This eighteen holes Frank shot six pars.

(b) He pars the third hole every time he plays it.

What does the <s> in pars mean in (a)? "More than one, plural".

What does the <s> in pars mean in (b)? "Third person singular, present".

The <s> in the words in Group 1 of Array 39 is an inflectional suffix adding either the meaning "more than one, plural" to nouns or the meaning "third person singular present tense" to verbs. However, the <s> in the words in Group 2 is not a suffix; it is part of the base. This leads us to the third use for silent final <e> in English spelling: It is sometimes used to keep a word from ending with a single <s> unless that <s> is in a suffix.

If the <s> has a short vowel right in front of it, another <s> will be added rather than an <e>: mass, mess, miss, moss, muss. Be ready to answer this question: Why do we use a second <s> here rather than an <e>?

Teaching Note. The reason we are after here is that if we were to add a final <e> instead of a second <s>, we would end up with a VCV pattern, which would make it look as if the preceding vowel were long rather than short.

So a base that comes at the end of a word and otherwise would end in a single <s> preceded by a consonant or a long vowel will usually have a silent final <e> added, to insulate the single <s> from coming at the end of the word. The same pattern holds for the letter <z>. The letter <z> is fairly rare in English, and the sound [z] is most often spelled <s>. As with <s>, we tend to avoid ending a word with a single <z>. If there is a short vowel preceding the <z>, we add a second <z>, as in fuzz, fizz, and jazz, but if there is a consonant or a long vowel preceding the <z>, we add a silent final <e>, as in bronze, wheeze, and booze.

Back in Array 39, six of the words in Group 3 have a <v> before the silent final <e>. The final <e> does not always affect the sound of the preceding <v>. For reasons that go hundreds of years back into the history of our language, we avoid ending words with <v>. Long ago <v> and <u> were actually different forms of the same letter. So the pattern for <v> extends to <u> today as well. We use silent final <e> to insulate an otherwise word-final <v>, and except for a few recent foreign borrowings — like gnu, bayou, and tabu — we also use it to insulate an otherwise word-final <u>, as in plaque, tongue, league, statuesque.

Fossil Final <e>. The silent final <e>'s that mark or insulate consonants and vowels make up most of the final <e>'s you'll meet in English — most, but not all.

Look at the spelling of the fifteen words in Array 40a. Pronounce each of them. If you're not sure of a pronunciation, check your dictionary. Then sort them into the two groups described. You should find four words in which final <e> is marking or insulating vowels or consonants. They go into Group 1. In the other eleven words the final <e> does not mark or insulate a vowel or consonant. These eleven go into Group 2.

If you can't make up your mind about a word, try writing it without the final <e> and deciding how it would be pronounced if it were spelled that way. If the pronunciation doesn't seem to change, then the final <e> does not mark a consonant or vowel sound. If the word minus the final <e> doesn't end with a <u>, <v>, or a single <s> or <z>, the final <e> is not insulating anything either — and the word belongs in Group 2.

Array 40a

alive
avalanche
belle
bizarre
brassiere
breeze
brochure
cigarette
clientele
comrade
crevasse
debutante
demitasse
derange
explode
 
Group 1:
Words in which Final <e>
 Marks or Insulates
Group 2:
Words in which Final <e>
Does Not Mark or Insulate
alive avalanche clientele
breeze belle comrade
derange bizarre crevasse
explode brassiere debutante
  brochure demitasse
cigarette  

The eleven words in Group 2 of Array 40a came from French, where final <e> has some functions quite different from its functions in English. For example, in French final <e> marks feminine words: Un voisin, "a neighbor," is masculine, but une voisine, "a neighbor," is feminine. Since French does not pronounce most final consonants, the final <e> will often affect the pronunciation. Thus, absent, "away," (masculine) is pronounced [opsóng] (more or less), with stress on the second vowel and the <t> silent. But absente, "away," (feminine) is pronounced [opsónt] (again more or less), still with stress on the second vowel, but now with a final [t] sound. Many French words borrowed into English retain their French spellings even though the final <e> does not retain its French function and very often does not serve any normal English function. These borrowed words, with their fossilized final <e>'s might be called words with "French Fossil <e>'s."

In the "English" column below fill in the eleven words from Group 2 in Array 40, and then in the "French" column fill in the French spelling for each word. You will find the French spellings in the words' etymologies. If your dictionary says "French" and doesn't give you any French word, you can assume that the French word was spelled like the English:

Array 40b

English French
avalanche avalanche
belle belle
bizarre bizarre
brassiere brassière
brochure brochure
cigarette cigarette
clientele clientèle
comrade camarade
crevasse crevasse
debutante débutante
demitasse demitasse

Array 41 gives you a chance to work with some more words with French fossil <e>'s. Sort the words into the two groups described:

Array 41

feminine
gazelle
gazette
grille
have
imbecile
impasse
judge
kitchenette
layette
love
lucerne
madame
marriage
medicine
millionaire
morale
nocturne
oblige
palette
peace
pipette
plague
questionnaire
race
romaine
rosette
roulette
route
statuette
submerge
tongue
troupe
vaudeville
zygote
 
Words in which Final <e>
Marks or Insulates
Words in which Final <e>
Does Not Mark or Insulate
have feminine morale
judge gazelle nocturne
love gazette palette
marriage grille pipette
oblige imbecile questionnaire
peace impasse romaine
plague kitchenette rosette
race layette roulette
submerge lucerne route
tongue madame statuette
zygote medicine troupe
  millionaire vaudeville

The Short Word Rule. For centuries there has been a tendency in English spelling to keep the two-letter words — such as be, is, to, and an — to a small, select group. That's one reason we have otherwise unnecessary final double-consonants — such as in egg, ebb, add, and err. Also some silent final <e>s appear at the ends of words to keep them longer than two letters, so we have, for instance, gee rather than <ge>. This tendency to double consonants in words like egg or add otherwise unnecessary final <e>'s to words like gee is due to the Short Word Rule. Sort the words in Array 42 into the two groups described.

Array 42

fee
awe
bade
bye
come
done
dye
ewe
eye
forbade
gone
lye
none
one
rye
see
shoe
some
tee
woe
 
Group 1: Words with Final <e>
Due to the Short Word Rule
Group 2: Words with Final <e>
Due to Other Reasons
awe one bade gone
bye rye forbade none
dye see come shoe
ewe tee done some
eye woe  
lye fee

Back in Middle English times (from about the 12th through the 15th centuries) final <e> was not silent. It was pronounced as a separate weak syllable. Over the years the final <e> fell silent though it tended to stay in the spelling. (In general, spelling does not change as fast as speech.) So we have a number of words with fossil final <e>'s that were once but are no longer pronounced. Of those words, the eight you put into Group 2 in Array 42 are perhaps the most important.

Final <e> after Unstressed Vowels. Silent final <e> only marks a preceding vowel as long if that vowel has either primary or secondary stress. It does not mark as long a preceding vowel with weak stress. Pronounce the following sentences carefully and notice the sound and stress pattern of the underlined words:

1(a) She wore an elaborate headdress.

1(b) He would not elaborate on his earlier comment to the press.

2(a) They had a very intimate conversation.

2(b) She did not intimate what they discussed.

3(a) They baked the duck in a moderate oven.

3(b) The group asked the committee to moderate its demands.

All of the underlined words in the six sentences contain the derivational suffix -ate›, which forms verbs and adjectives. In the three (a) sentences the underlined words are used as adjectives; in the (b) sentences, as verbs. As the words are used differently, the stress shifts, and thus the pronunciation of -ate› changes.

In Array 43 mark the primary and secondary stresses and the pronunciation of -ate› in intimate and the other five words as they have been marked for elaborate. Try at first on your own. Then check your ear against the stress patterns and pronunciations in your dictionary.

The list below contains a number of other words with the -ate› suffix. Find six other words in the list that can function as both adjectives and verbs, and add them to the appropriate columns in the array. Mark their stress patterns and the pronunciation of -ate›:

accurate
affectionate
apropriate
approximate
climate
collegiate
commensurate
confederate
conglomerate
considerate
consummate
deliberate
delicate
desolate
desperate
effeminate
electorate
fortunate
immediate
inaccurate
indiscriminate
inordinate
intricate
literate
mediate
bstinate
passionate
pomegranate
predicate
private
proportionate
proximate
regenerate
senate
separate
temperate

Array 43

Adjectives Verbs
Stress Pattern Sound of -ate› Stress Pattern Sound of -ate
eláborate  [it] eláborâte  [at]
íntimate  [it] íntimâte  [at]
móderate  [it] móderâte  [at]
See Note below      
       
 
Teaching Note. The students should get any six of the fourteen words above with verb senses with -ate› pronounced [at]: appropriate, approximate, confederate, conglomerate, consummate, deliberate, desolate, effeminate, mediate, predicate, proportionate, proximate, regenerate, separate. All of the words in the list have adjective (or noun) senses with -ate› pronounced [it].

If it is "normal" for final <e> to mark a long vowel, does the adjective or the verb have the "normal" pronunciation of -ate? The verb

The cases where -ate› is pronounced [it] can be explained by stress-shifting. In the adjective forms the vowel in -ate› is weakly stressed. And the silent final <e> only marks a preceding vowel as long if that vowel has either primary or secondary stress, as it always does in the verbs with the suffix -ate›. Strange as it may seem, the letter <a> in a weakly stressed syllable often spells [i], especially in the suffixes -ate›, -age›, and -ace›, as in words like adequate, manage, and furnace.

Find six words in the list in Array 43 that can function as nouns and write them into Array 44:

Array 44

Nouns with the Suffix -ate›
See Note below.    
     

Teaching Note. The students should get any six of the following: climate, confederate, conglomerate, electorate, fortunate, literate, pomegranate, predicate, private, senate, separate.

Are nouns that end with the suffix -ate› usually pronounced like the adjectives or like the verbs? The adjectives

The words in Array 45 all contain the suffix -ite›. Sort them into the four groups indicated. The words that go into Group 4 are words that can function as either adjectives or nouns.

Array 45

composite
definite
expedite
exquisite
favorite
graphite
incondite
infinite
perquisite
requisite
unite
sulphite
 
Group 1:
Verbs
Group 2:
Adjectives
Group 3:
Nouns
Group4:
Adjectives / Nouns
expedite definite graphite composite
unite incondite perquisite exquisite
    sulphite favorite
  infinite
requisite

Teaching Note. Differences in treatment by different dictionaries could lead to disagreements with the answers offered above for Array 45. Some dictionaries show a verb sense for composite; most don't. Some show an obsolete adjective sense for expedite, some an archaic noun sense for exquisite. This little array illustrates the way in which language is constantly changing and how hard it is to get a truly definitive description of certain aspects of it. A certain flexibility is called for. Some dictionaries show sulfite rather than sulphite; Webster's Third Unabridged lists both. Questions about some of the nouns in Group 3 as apparent adjectives--for instance, in phrases like "graphite pencil" and "sulphite process" graphite and sulphite could be taken as adjectives, and thus belong in Group 4. There are two ways to talk about such phrases: (i) Graphite and sulphite are attributive nouns—that is, nouns used as if they were adjectives. We use a lot of nouns attributively in English, and we can tell that they are not actually adjectives because we can't intensify or compare them. That is, we can't say things like *very graphite or *graphitest. (ii) They are open compound words, compounds with a blank space between the two noun stems.

The pronunciation of the words in Array 45 is affected by stress shifting, like the -ate› words.

How is the -ite› pronounced in the two verbs? [i]

Where is the primary stress in them? on the final syllable.

How is the -ite› pronounced in the seven words that are either adjectives or adjectives/nouns? [it]

What level of stress is on the -ite› in these seven words? weak

A number of words ending in <ine> have what seem to be fossil <e>s. Some of these are the fossils of Middle English verb endings; some are the fossils of Latin noun and adjective endings. Check the etymologies of the words in Array 46 and sort them into the four groups described

Array 46

bowline
caffeine
crystalline
destine
doctrine
engine
examine
famine
genuine
heroine
imagine
intestine
medicine
trampoline
turbine
urine
 
Words from Middle English Verbs Ending in
-inen

Words from Latin Nouns Ending in
-ina

Words from Latin Adjectives Ending in -inus


Words from Other Sources
destine doctrine crystalline bowline
examine famine genuine caffeine
imagine heroine intestine engine
  medicine   trampoline
urine turbine

Teaching Note. Several of the words in Array 46 have variant, often dialectal, pronunciations with stress on the final syllable, leading to [i] or sometimes [e]: crystaline, genuine, intestine, bowline, trampoline, turbine. Array 46 assumes the pronunciation with unstressed [i].

It may be wise, here at the end of this long chapter, to look again at words in which silent final <e> serves a function — or in many cases, more than one function. Study the words in Array 47. Look at their spelling. Pronounce them to yourself. Consider how they would be pronounced if you were to leave off the final <e>. Put a check in the "Marking vowel" column if the final <e> is marking a long vowel in that word. Put a check in the "Marking consonant" column if the final <e> is marking a soft <c> or <g> or a voiced <th> in that word. Put a check in the "Insulating" column if it is keeping a <v> or <u> or a single <s> or <z> from coming at the end of the word. Notice that in some words final <e> is doing more than one thing at a time.

Array 47

Words Marking Vowels Marking Consonants Insulating
adze   X
bathe X X  
clothe X X  
copse   X
deluge X X  
dense   X
drive X   X
engage X X  
freeze   X
grave X   X
hive X   X
huge X X  
lace X X  
lapse   X
lathe X X  
louse   X
moose   X
pace X X  
plague X   X
prize X   X
rampage X X  
range X X  
rogue X   X
sage X X  
slave X   X
stage X X  
tense   X
trace X X  
vague X   X
wage X X  

Summing Up. Write a sentence or two (or three) summarizing the functions of final <e> you've dealt with in this chapter. Make it clear that sometimes final <e> can be doing more than one thing at a time. Also be sure to mention the fossils and the role of silent final <e> after weakly stressed vowels.

Some final <e>'s are fossils with no function, but most final <e>'s mark or insulate vowels or consonants. Final <e>'s mark preceding <c>'s or <g>'s as soft and preceding <th>'s as voiced. They insulate otherwise word-final <u>'s, <v>'s, or single <z>'s, or single <s>'s that are not in a suffix. They mark a preceding stressed vowel as long in words that end <aste>, <ange>, or <the>. They mark a preceding vowel as long in words that end <le> if only one consonant comes between the vowel and the final <le>. They mark other stressed vowels as long if no or one consonant comes between the vowel and final <e>.

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