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Free Speech Lesson

SUFFIX “Y” — Soooo Useful!

BLOG for Saturday, June 13, 2020

TITLE:   Suffix “Y” – So USEFUL!

To speak clear and accurate English for unfamiliar multiple syllable words, first  you need to divide the unfamiliar word into syllables.   There are eight rules to do that. 

Most important is to look for the prefixes and suffixes first. 

Many English words end with the suffix “y”.   For “rainy”, that makes “rain” an adjective, such as “rainy day”.

  Sometimes, the root word or the word you begin with ends with a silent “e”, such as “love”.   Add the “y” after the silent “e”, so “lovely” is the spelling for the adjective.  The first syllable is spelled “love” and the second syllable is spelled “ly”.  

Another important advice is to maintain the pronunciation for the root word—“love”.  L then short vowel “o”, the “v” pronunciation.     For “lovely” –  add the “L” pronunciation, then the “y” is pronounced as a long vowel “e”.

One more tip.  For the word “happy”, the “y” in the suffix tells you that word is an adjective.  Example- happy person”.  But here the suffix is spelled “py”.  That means the first syllable is spelled “hap” and is a closed syllable and the vowel “a” is the American  short vowel “a” as pronounced in the word “hat”.

Soooo, “happy” is pronounced  first “h” sound, then American short vowel “a”, then “p” sound then “y” is pronounced as a long vowel “e”.    Easy for you for the word “happy”.  Seems like everyone knows that word.   But the spelling of the complex and multiple syllable word “happenstance” might NOT be so obvious.

For this WEEK’S SPEECH TIP, video, Dr. Antonia Lawrence Johnson focuses on the “ty” suffix and the “teen” suffix. And the “th” sound with no voice. And the “ir” spelling which is pronounced as an “er”. The words are “thirty” and “thirteen”.

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