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phonics experts -come and settle an argument

(380 Posts)
sausagesandwich34 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:43:54

scone it's an oldy but a goody!

pronounced to rhyme with cone or gone?

does the magic 'e' come into play?

does the magic 'e' even exist anymore?

simpson Wed 23-Jan-13 21:47:04

They don't teach the magic e anymore ( although my DD taught herself that way, thanks alphablocks!!)

Can't answer the rest of your question really as I am not a teacher.

I would pronounce it to rhyme with cone and then use the o/e sound...

learnandsay Wed 23-Jan-13 21:49:34

Oh, the better sort wouldn't dream of rhyming with cone! Ooooooh.

simpson Wed 23-Jan-13 21:50:10


MushroomSoup Wed 23-Jan-13 21:55:30

scone as in cone! Magic e is actually a 'split digraph'

A digraph is 2 letters making a new sound, like 'sh' and 'oo'. The split digraph has a letter in the middle. So effectively, o-e says 'oh'.
(There are always bloody exceptions though!)

mrz Wed 23-Jan-13 21:55:45

It doesn't matter you pronounce it depends on your dialect so either is correct.

Wigeon Wed 23-Jan-13 21:58:00

Er, yes, surely this isn't a phonics question, as mrz says? Otherwise you are going to get into

bath / baarth
tomatoes / tomaytoes
fun / foon

which are all to do with regional accents, not phonics.

Wigeon Wed 23-Jan-13 21:58:55

Although I am sure that the phonically correct way is "skon" not "s-cone" grin

HTH grin

mrz Wed 23-Jan-13 22:01:10

No it isn't a phonics question Wigeon

BooksandaCuppa Wed 23-Jan-13 22:04:14

issue, definitely (although I think really posh and really - erm - not posh people rhyme with gone and all of us in the middle rhyme with cone!)

sausagesandwich34 Wed 23-Jan-13 22:04:33

I've heard it's a dialect/class thing

when I was at school there was a mix of both pronunciations -surely we would have all said it the same?

I was just wondering if there was a 'correct' way to say it grin

and it's definitely s-cone wigeon

maizieD Wed 23-Jan-13 22:32:57

If you say 'skon', the graphemes are 's' 'c' 'o' 'ne'. If you favour 'scoan' then the 'o-e' is a split digraph. That's the only 'phonics' involved! How you actually say it is a matter of choice.

Being a mixed up Southerner living in the North I personally use both grin

StetsonsAreCool Wed 23-Jan-13 22:36:59

I always pronounced it as sconn, as in The Fastest Cake In The World (s'gone) sorry

Missbopeep Wed 23-Jan-13 23:07:22

scone is not phonically regular. it falls into the same categry as gone, come, done, and others.

it's pronunciaiton is more to do with where you live and your class shock

IMO many people who want to appear posh- Hyancinth Bucket types- say " scone " to rhyme with dome, whereas the correct way is to rhyme it with gone. The Oxford English Dictionary says it rhymes with "gone" and that's the only way I have ever said it.

learnandsay Wed 23-Jan-13 23:15:07

Hyancinth Bucket is a comedy character. Surely the whole point of comedy is to illustrate what should not be done.

maizieD Wed 23-Jan-13 23:16:00

it's pronunciaiton is more to do with where you live and your class

Does that really matter in this day and age? hmm

(BTW. 'its' is a possessive pronoun, like 'his' and 'hers' and doesn't need an apostrophe)

learnandsay Wed 23-Jan-13 23:19:18

That depends on whether it is being used as it-is or it(s)

Mashabell Thu 24-Jan-13 07:32:03

Magic e does still exist. It is used in several thousand words like (like, bike, make, take, broke, stroke, duke, puke, used) and 86 words with e-e (eke, even, here), but the new name for it is 'split digraphs'.

'Magic e' does not cover all of it, because it's simply the '*open*, long' - '*closed*, short' vowel spelling method. The second vowel does not have to be e:
halo, stylus, solo, tubular, hero -compare: hallowed, syllable, college, tubby - elation, notion, confusion.

It's a neat system, or would be if it was used consistently.
Unfortunately, several hundred words have redundant -e endings:
are, have, give, live, gone, imagine, promise
(cf. care, save, drive, bone, define, surprise)
and nearly 400 common words don't double the consonant after short, stressed vowels:
very (merry), salad (ballad), copy (poppy)... ignition (mission).

Chaucer (who died in 1400) used this system very consistently. It was messed up mainly by 16th century printers.
Firstly, by the foreign printers of the first English bibles (the first mass-produced English book) who spoke no English, because in England this was illegal until 1539.
Secondly, because early printers (1476 onwards) were paid by the line, they were fond of making words longer (olde, worlde, shoppe, inne, itte, hadde, mennie, fissche).

Additionally, Sam Johnson had far more respect for Latin than English. In his dictionary of 1755 he therefore removed doubled letters from many words of Latin origin which earlier had been spelt with them (e.g. Lattine, pittie, cittie, verray...).

Most redundant -e endings were dropped in the 17th century. Some prominent teachers/intellectuals (Mulcaster, Hart, Bullokar, Smith) had started to talk and write books about it near the end of 16th C, but it did not really take off until 1642-9, when the pampleteers of the English Civil War wanted to squeeze more propaganda onto a single page.
Sadly they got rid of some useful ones too (most, poste, hoste - cf. haste, paste, chaste), while leaving many useless ones (have, give, gone,...).

(Here endeth your lesson on the history of English spelling for today. It's one of my favourite subjects, and I have been studying it now for nearly 15 years.)

If people gave themselves permission to use the 'long, open' - 'closed, short' English vowel spelling system consistently, instead erratically, as enshrined in dictionaries, learning to read and write the language would become vastly easier.
Masha Bell

Mashabell Thu 24-Jan-13 07:39:11

PPS It was the printing of English bibles which was illegal in England until Henry VIII's edict of 1539 - not speaking English.
English began to assert itself as the official language of England again, instead of French, from roughly 1350 onwards.

learnandsay Thu 24-Jan-13 07:40:46

masha, what has that got to do with how you say scone?

Missbopeep Thu 24-Jan-13 07:43:20

Yes class is alive and well even today MaizieD.

As for its and it's I am fully aware of how to use- been teaching it correctly for over 30 years. Look at the timing of my post- was gone 11pm after a long day at the chalk face. It was a typo.

Anyone wanting to check on pronunciaiton should check in the OED.

learnandsay Thu 24-Jan-13 07:51:31

missbo, typos are not allowed. Mumsnet is a place where people come to argue for years about nothing at all and nothing is ever allowed or forgiven. And all arguments must ultimately revert to definitive proof from the Stone Age in order to be settled.

RustyBear Thu 24-Jan-13 07:53:41

Learnandsay - it was related to the statement made earlier that magic e no longer exists.

Luckily Mumsnet isn't one of those forums that insists every post is strictly relevant to the original topic - the digressions on Mumsnet are one of the things that make it what it is. I found it a very interesting post, Mashabell.

simpson Thu 24-Jan-13 08:19:06

The magic e does exist (alphablocks on TV) it is just not used in the classroom anymore and has been replaced by a/e, o/e, I/e etc etc....

Mashabell Thu 24-Jan-13 10:07:46

masha, what has that got to do with how you say scone?

When the spelling is no reliable guide to pronunciation (bone, done, gone...), pronunciation sometimess takes peculiar turns, as with 'scon'/'scone'.
Ditto with 'fat, father' ...'bath, rather', and UK/US differences like 'leever/levver' for lever and 'lesure/leesure' for leisure.

The OP also asked

does the magic 'e' come into play?

does the magic 'e' even exist anymore?

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