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Spelling tips for Words from Old English:
The following spelling tip comes from Merriam-Webster's Spell It!
spelling bee preparation list for Words from Old English. These spelling tips apply specifically to
the Spelling Bee Practice: Words From Old English spelling list
"Tip from the Top: You have a great advantage in learning to spell a word that has
been in English for a very long time. Chances are that the word belongs to a group of words that show
the same spelling pattern, since words in all languages have a habit of conforming to each other over
time. As you study the words in the list, try to remember them together with another word or words with
a similar sound and spelling."
Click here to download the Spelling Bee
Practice: Words From Old English spelling list for SpellQuizzer.
"Peer Pressure: Words Feel It Too! Have you ever noticed that when someone joins a
group, he or she often does whatever possible to blend in? Believe it or not, words often do the same
thing! The best way for a new word to survive in a language is to look or sound like other words. Before
long, the new word is accepted as a native. For example, our list has three words that (a) have two
syllables, (b) have a double consonant, and (c) end with ock: paddock,
mattock, and hassock. The -ock part of these words is an Old English suffix used
to form diminutives (smaller versions of something). Now, look at these non–study-list English words:
cassock, haddock, and hammock. If you guessed that they all came from Old English
using the same suffix, you would be wrong! All these words came into English later and some came from
other languages, but it was easy and convenient to spell them according to a familiar pattern."
"Old English likes double consonants following short vowels, especially if the vowel is in a stressed
syllable. Examples include quell, paddock, mattock, sallow, fennel,
hassock, errand, barrow, kipper, and Wiccan."
"A long a sound (\ā\) at the end of words from Old English is nearly always spelled
ay as in belay."
"Long e (\ē\) at the end of an adjective or adverb from Old English is nearly always
spelled with y. Examples include dreary, watery, windily, fiery,
creepy, daily, stringy, timely, womanly, and chary."
"Long o (\ō\) at the end of words from Old English is typically spelled with ow
as in sallow and barrow. By contrast, a long o at the end of a word in many languages
that English has borrowed from is simply spelled with o."
"When the syllable \səl\ ends words from Old English, it is nearly always spelled stle,
with the t being silent (as in gristle and nestle)."
"Silent gh after a vowel is common in words from Old English, as in slaughter. Silent
gh usually appears after i in words like plight (not on the study list) and
nightingale, and it signals that the vowel is pronounced \ī\."
"The vowel combination oa in words from Old English is nearly always pronounced as long
o (\ō\) as in loam and goatee. Examples not on the study list include
shoal, boastful, and gloaming."
"Silent e on the end or not? For words from Old English that end in either hard th
(\th\) or soft th (\th\), remember this: More often than not, soft th will have a silent
e at the end of the word. Consider, for example, bequeath, dearth, kith,
hearth, and hundredth versus blithe, tithe, and lithe. Interestingly,
the word blithe can be pronounced both ways."
You can find more free downloadable spelling bee
preparation lists for SpellQuizzer at our Spelling Bee
Preparation page. We also have more downloadable spelling lists for SpellQuizzer
at our online spelling lists page.