From A to Z;Primary

8th May 1998 at 01:00
Sue Palmer's weekly guide to the alphabet.

Rrrrrrrr! According to Ben Jonson, "R is the dog's letter, and hurreth in the sound - the tongue striking the inner palate with a trembling about the teeth."

As well as its initial rumbles in words like roar and rage, and its terrier-like attempts to terrorise you in the middle of words, you can hear the dog's letter growling in a pack of common blends: br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, spr, str, shr, thr.

It also occurs in another array of phonics units: the vowel phonemes usually represented by ar, or, erirur, oor, ear, air. English phoneticians consider these single vowel sounds, with no dog's letter to be heard. Scots, however, enjoy a good growl, and north of the border the r of car, horse, fern, shirt, nurse, poor, dear, and chair is clearly audible.

To convey an audible r to all nationalities - ie when a word's pronunciation requires the separating of r from a preceding vowel - it helps to double it, as in car but carry, bore but borrow, Bert but berry, squirt but squirrel, hurt but hurry.

Finally, r is for riddle. Do you remember this one from the playground?

Round and round the rugged rocks The ragged rascal ran. How many r's are there in that? Pray, tell me if you can.

(Answer: none - there are no r's in "that")

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now