Lists of Letters

...and sounds, and words, and meanings

As I’m writing my book, I’m integrating the teaching materials I’ve made over the years. Some topics make me realize where I’ve relied on other sources. I always said I didn’t want my book to be a book of lists like so many books about English speaking skills are. I have used other people’s or website’s lists for years because why create whole new lists of words that have specific vowel sounds when there are so many lists easily available?

I had to go back and look at those borrowed materials again and see my notes where I deleted or added info because they weren’t the way I wanted them. Here’s my chance to make lists exactly how I want them and I’m finding out it’s harder than it looks. It’s so time consuming! I have used the website More Words a lot to search for words with specific spellings and filter by the letters being at the beginning, end, or anywhere in the word. If you ever need to cheat at Scrabble, that’s the site for you.

Maybe the time consuming factor is why I didn’t already have my own lists of words and sounds. Now that I’m taking the time to do it, I see how helpful it would have been (and will be) for anyone who likes to understand the organization and relationship between vowel sounds and symbols (both IPA symbols and regular spelling). I can do a lot more than just teaching the IPA quadrilateral. Not everyone needs more, but it’s better to have information and not need it than need it and not have it. As I’m writing and creating material, I’m remembering all the questions people have asked me over the years about pronunciation of vowels. Everything I’m including is based on explanations I have provided to questions they didn’t get answered somewhere else.

I guess I shouldn’t have regret about not starting my book sooner because I have had time to answer more questions and learn more about what people want to know.

In that time, I have learned from everyone I’ve worked with and seen them organize vowel sounds in ways that made sense to them in forms that I had never thought of before. For people who prefer a table format, the vowel quadrilateral can be easier to remember if it looks like this:

I am providing a lot of options as I write my book, but I don’t need to represent too many formats because when you understand something well, you make it fit into your brain the way that makes sense to you. It’s my goal to make the sound and symbol relationships clear and encourage people to play and create their own forms. Don’t just accept what’s in a book if it’s not the way that makes the most sense to you. Create your own.