Is Silence Golden?

They say that silence is golden. Whether or not that maxim rings true, silent letters can be perplexing to second language learners and can be challenging for their pronunciation. Our clients who attend accent modification/accent reduction classes realize that effective communication involves mastering these idiosyncratic rules. Of course there are many exceptions, but the following are examples of some common words containing letters that should not be pronounced. /b/ is often silent when following /m/ at the end of a word

comb                   tomb                    climb                    thumb                 dumb

/b/ is often silent preceding /t/ in a word

debt                      doubt

/l/ is often silent when followed by /m/

palm                     salmon                 psalm                   calm                     balm

/l/ is often silent when followed by /k/

talk                       walk                     chalk                    yolk                        folk   

/gh/ is often silent

daughter              through                although              dough                   taught

/g/ is often silent when followed by /m/ or /n/

align                     foreign                 resign                   malign                   ensign                 

/w/ is often silent before /r/

written                 wreath                 wrap                     wrought                wrong

/t/ is often silent at the ends of words

ballet                    cabaret                gourmet                  bouquet                buffet   

/k/ is often silent before /n/

knight                  knit                       knife                     kneel                      knot

/p/ is often silent

receipt                 pneumonia          raspberry             psychologist

/st/ can be silent

listen                    whistle                 thistle                   glisten

 /ch/  can be silent


/h/ is silent in the beginning of some words:

honor                   herbal                   honest                  heirs                      honorable

There are many more examples of silent letters in the English language, and exceptions to the “RULES” mentioned above.

Let us know which words you can  find.rulesrulesbythesound

To learn more about pronunciation variations for English consonants and vowels and practice their pronunciation variations,  please see RULES By the Sound.   the RULES by the Sound Pronunciation Platform, and RULES: Rules for Using Linguistic Elements of Speech.