Teaching V/CV and VC/V Why Bother?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DavidGS, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. DavidGS

    DavidGS Rookie

    Feb 6, 2009
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    Nov 14, 2011

    Reasoning behind Teaching V/CV and VC/V Patterns

    I understand VCV syllable division as V/CV for initial long vowels (lē/ver) and VC/V for initial short vowels (sĕv/en).

    What I don’t understand is the reasoning and purpose behind the differentiation and why it’s relevant to teach this. Why should it be necessary that someone distinguish sev/en rather than se/ven? Isn’t correct sounding of the word dependent on previous exposure to the word, and if so, why teach its syllable division apart from assisting with spelling.

    If I made up a word (‘benon’ for example), how would knowledge of the V/CV and VC/V assist its ‘correct’ sounding? Sorry to ask so many questions but I am unsure about the reason behind and the purpose of distinguishing these two syllable patterns. Thank you.
  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    May 13, 2005
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    Nov 15, 2011

    Syllabication rules in English exist to help the writer of the language guess how to spell a word she's heard but not seen and to help the reader of the language guess how to pronounce a word she's seen but not heard.

    The V/CV pattern gives us two syllables the first of which is known as an open syllable , and it's a convention of English spelling that a single vowel letter at the end of an open syllable is pronounced "long". In contrast, the VC/V pattern gives us two syllables the first of which is a closed syllable, and the convention is that a single vowel letter in a closed syllable is pronounced "short".

    Thus the word even is syllabified e/ven: the first syllable is pronounced with "long" e, because the syllable is open - and if it is absolutely necessary to hyphenate the word, the hyphen is written after the first letter e, not after the letter v. The second syllable is a closed syllable and is pronounced with "short" e.

    If the word seven to be syllabified se/ven, the first vowel should be pronounced "long" (that is, it should rhyme with even) - but I know of no dialect in English in which that is the case, nor do I know of any writer who would place a hyphen after the first letter e.

    It's worth noting that dialects of English differ in their syllabication of the word lever. Most dialects of British English seem to go for le/ver, reflecting (and motivating) a pronunciation with "long" e, but in many dialects of American English the syllabication is lev/er, with a first vowel that is "short".
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Aug 15, 2010
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    Nov 15, 2011

    The syllabication rules are very important for students in the upper grades when they start working with multisyllabic words, especially those with prefixes and suffixes or from science and history. Students can use these rules to make a good guess at how the word is pronounced.

    It is also a skill that must be taught for spelling. Students need to understand the rule before they are able to apply them when they are writing unknown words.
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Jan 12, 2011
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    Nov 15, 2011

    Excellent and very helpful post TeacherGroupie.

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