Assignment 1: Phonology and spelling

  1. Passage. Select a passage from a piece of children’s literature (about 100-150 words). Choose a passage that has mainly one-syllable words that have a variety of different spellings. Start with the first word in the passage and continue on from that word—don’t skip around.
  2. Basic sound-letter correspondences. Find examples of “default” or “regular” spellings and put them in the chart (e.g. the sound /p/ is usually spelled with a single letter p.) This includes both consonant and vowel sounds. The sounds can come from the beginning, middle or ends of words. Note: You can check a dictionary if you are not sure what the vowel sounds should be. This will help you to distinguish the vowel sounds if you’re having trouble.
  3. Alternative spellings. Find examples of “alternative” or “irregular” spellings of the consonant and vowels sounds and add them to your charts (e.g., the sound /f/ is also spelled with ph in phone or gh in laugh). After you have found all the default and alternative spellings in your passage and if you still have a lot of blank boxes, you can skim the rest of the passage to find unusual spellings, or even make up your own examples of words, and add them to any blank boxes where there were no examples in your data. Put these additional words in parentheses (see the sample chart).
  4. Spelling patterns, Find spelling patterns and use the words in your passage to illustrate them. You can find spelling patterns or generalizations on the Internet.
  5. Expand the boxes as needed


The Little Gingerbread Man.

By Carol Moore.

Once upon a time there was an old woman who loved baking gingerbread. She would bake gingerbread cookies, cakes, houses and gingerbread people, all decorated with chocolate and peppermint, caramel candies and colored frosting. She lived with her husband on a farm at the edge of town. The sweet spicy smell of gingerbread brought children skipping and running to see what would be offered that day. Unfortunately the children gobbled up the treats so fast that the old woman had a hard time keeping her supply of flour and spices to continue making the batches of gingerbread. Sometimes she suspected little hands of having reached through her kitchen window because gingerbread pieces and cookies would disappear. One time a whole gingerbread house vanished mysteriously. She told her husband, “Those naughty children are at it again. They don’t understand all they have to do is knock on the door and I’ll give them my gingerbread treats.” (155 words)


Sounds Examples of regular spellings Irregular or alternate spellings
/b/ baking, gingerbread, husband, brought, be gobbled
/d/ old, gingerbread, decorate, day, disappear, door colored, loved, lived, offered
/f/ frosting, farm, unfortunately, fast, flour offered
/g/ gobbled, again, give (egg)
/h/ houses, husband, had, hard, her, hands who, whole
/j/ (jewel) gingerbread, edge
/k/ baking, cookies, cakes, skipping, keeping,


cookies, cakes, decorated, chocolate, caramel, colored, continue, suspect, because, knock
/l/ old, loved, chocolate, lived, flour people, all, smell, little
/m/ time, woman, peppermint, making, mysteriously, my (thumb)
/n/ upon, peppermint, naughty running, knock
/p/ upon, people, peppermint, pieces peppermint, skipping, supply, disappear
/r/ there, reached (wrap)
/s/ cakes, frosting, sweet, spicy, smell, skipping, see, treats, so, fast, supply,

sometimes, suspected

once, spicy, spices, pieces
/t/ time, chocolate, frosting, town, to, treats little, reached, vanished
/v/ vanished of, love, live, have, give
/w/ was, woman, would, with, sweet, window once, what, one
/y/ (you, yet) (usual)
/z/ (zoo) was, cookies, houses, husband, batches, sometimes, hands, because
/ch/ chocolate, children, reach unfortunate, batch, kitchen
/sh/ she, vanished (nation)
/th/ (bathe) there, that, the NA
/th/ (bath) with, through NA
/zh/ treasure (pleasure) (television)
/ng/ ring baking, frosting, skipping NA



IPA Sound Examples Alternate spellings
/b/ /b/    
/d/ /d/    
/f/ /f/    
/g/ /g/    
/h/ /h/    
/dʒ/ /j/    
/k/ /k/    
/l/ /l/    
/m/ /m/    
/n/ /n/    
/p/ /p/    
/ɹ/ /r/    
/s/ /s/    
/t/ /t/    
/v/ /v/    
/w/ /w/    
/j/ /y/    
/z/ /z/    
/tʃ/ /ch/    
/ʃ/ /sh/    
/è/ /th/


/ð/ /th/ (+V)    
/ʒ/ /zh/    
/ŋ/ /ng/    



IPA Sound Same spellings Alternate Spellings
  Short vowels    
/æ/ / ă / bat    
/ɛ/ / ĕ / bet    
/ɪ/ /ĭ/  bit    
/ɑ/ /ŏ/ hot    
/ɔ/ /aw/  law    
/L/ /ŭ/ but    
/ʊ/ /ŏŏ/ book    
  Long vowels    
/e/ / ā / a_e  bake    
/i/ / ē / ee   bee    
/o/ / ō / o_e   bone    
/u/ / ū /   oo   boot    
/aɪ/ / ī  /  i_e   bite    
/oɪ/ / oy /  boy    
/aʊ/ / ou /  bounce    
/ar/ far    
 /ǝr/ her    
 /er/ fair    
 /ir / fear    
/or/ for    
/ayr/ fire    


Spelling patterns (25 points). Find spelling patterns in your passage and use the words in your passage to illustrate them. In addition to those we will discuss in class, you can find spelling generalizations on the Internet.

Here is an example of common five spelling patterns/generalizations. You can use these generalizations, but DO NOT use these same examples from The Little Gingerbread man. You must use your own examples from your own passage to illustrate them. You should have at least fifteen to twenty more spelling patterns as well.

  1. In a closed syllable with a vowel followed by a consonant, the vowel is usually short.

                 up, on, with, mint, and, at, smell, skip, run, that, fast, batch, hand, knock

  1. An open, accented vowel is usually long.

                             be, she     (ta-ble)   (spi-der)

  1. A vowel followed by a consonant and silent e is usually long;

                           time, bake, cake, whole, those, decorate, spices

  1. The consonant v cannot end a word that has a short vowel. An e must be added:

give, live, love, have

  1. When a base word has a vowel followed by a consonant and a silent final e, drop the e when adding a suffix:

loved, baking, decorated, lived, spicy, having

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