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Phonics experts - advice with 'ure' please

(3 Posts)
diamondage Thu 06-Nov-14 12:17:14

The Oxford Phonics Dictionary has 'ure' as representing /yoor/ for words such as pure, cure, mature.

The new National Curriculum Spelling Appendix has 'ure' representing /ch/er/ for words such as measure and furniture.

DDs school spelling scheme places 'ure' with 'er' 'ur' and 'ir' as they sound in the middle of words (i.e. /er/.

We use a variety of ways to pronounce the 'ure' spelling:

/ch/or/ for immature

/yer/ for pure or insecure

/ch/uh/ for creature

/zj/uh/ for enclosure

The schools spelling scheme makes the least sense to me, but even the other two don't really work for the way we pronounce these words. To me creature ends in a schwa - again can't find any validation for this. Perhaps we just speak with a funny accent grin

So, for those with the patience and understanding to get this far my question is shall I bother to go through this with DD (I can see I'm being very pedantic about it)? Especially as it means making up a sound /yer/ that doesn't seem to exist in phonological lexicons (not sure about the terminology, but hopefully you know what I mean). Or shall I just leave it, despite the fact that the obsolete spelling scheme doesn't follow synthetic phonics, and seems to lump words in randomly when they have a vaguely similar spelling with little regards to sound correspondences.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 06-Nov-14 12:56:36

To be fair, there are a lot of 'funny accents' in British English. There's a distinct 'rrrr' sound in 'ure' word endings where I live, for example. Is your DD having any specific problems in this area? If not, I'd steer clear of it.

I do share your reservations about 'yer'. But it's about a hundred years since I last looked seriously at phonics.

maizieD Thu 06-Nov-14 18:43:02

I think the Oxford Phonics Dictionary and the NC are a bit odd about the pronunciation of 'ure'but perhaps it is an accent thing. I'd say that in the exemplar words it was spelling something more like /you r/ and that that applied to most words ending in 'ure'.

But, for words like treasure, measure, picture, creature I'd teach it as an /er/ sound (even if it is more like a schwa). The /ch/ in picture comes from the 't', not the 'ure'; it would originally have been pronounced as a distinct /t/ but it's easier to turn it into a /ch/ (I'd tell the children that it was the lazy old English mispronouncing foreign words wink)... Again, the /zh/ in treasure etc. is spelled by the 's'.

That reduces the options to two. But if your accent means that there are more interpretations you'll have to go with more! If your DD understands the concept that one spelling can spell more than one sound she should be able to cope with it.

You're not really making up any 'new' sound with /yer/ because it is actually two sounds, /y/ and /er/

I agree that the spelling programme being used is less than helpful - it is clearly looking at spelling 'patterns' rather than focussing on sounds. And I would leave well alone unless she is clearly puzzled or asks for an explanation grin

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