In this lesson, we will begin learning the pronunciation and spelling of the /k/ sound in English. Learning /k/ is going to take us a while, as it has the most spelling patterns of all the consonants. This lesson is Part One of Four and will focus on words spelt with a letter ‘c’ that are pronounced as /k/.
The Madness of English
As you know from following these English Jade lessons, English is not a phonetic language. This means that the way we spell words often doesn’t match the way we pronounce them. In English Jade, I teach you the spelling and pronunciation hacks to help you to make sense of the English language. Without these rules, you will inevitably make a lot of mistakes.
To pronounce words correctly in English, you need to know IPA.
An IPA transcription shows you the correct pronunciation of a word, whereas English spelling often doesn’t.
To read words correctly in English, you also need to know the spelling patterns of words.
Some of the symbols in the IPA are unique, which means they don’t have letters that represent them in the English alphabet, e.g. /ʃ/ is a unique sound/symbol.
The letters in the English alphabet are not all represented by a symbol in the IPA.
The last point is particularly important when it comes to learning the /k/ sound. This is because there is no symbol in the shape of a letter ‘c’ in the IPA. When you see a letter ‘c’ in a word’s spelling, this often (but not always) represents a /k/ sound in the IPA:
The rules of pronouncing <c> as /k/
Most words ending with <c> have the <-ic> suffix:
tragic traffic sceptic erotic clinic
Some abbreviated words end with <c>:
doc sec pic mac spec
<c> before /əl/ at the end of nouns and verbs = /kəl/:
circle cycle uncle tentacle spectacle
the <-icle> suffix:
particle cubicle vehicle icicle article
the letter <c> usually comes before the letters <a> , <o> or <u>
cab cane case cave cargo
con code cork combat cowboy
cut cube cuff cushion custard
the letter <c> before <ur> represents the /ɜː/vowel:
curb curve curtain curse curfew
Practice /k/: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording
toxic: toxic relationship
antagonistic: antagonistic agnostic
sec: wait a sec
miracle: a miracle cure
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