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2.6: The Consonant Sound [g]

  • Page ID
    3562
  • Overview of the Consonant Sound [g]

    You can hear the sound [g] at the beginning and end of gag

    The sound [g] can be spelled a number of different ways, including <g>, <gg>, or <gh>.

    Examples

    Underline the letter(s) that spell [g] in each word.

    1. grade
    2. lagged

    Review

    1. In the words below, the sound [g] is spelled <g>, <gg>, or <gh>. Underline the letter(s) that spell [g] in each word.
      \begin{align*} &\text{dogging} && \text{biggest} && \text{again} && \text{ghost}\\ &\text{goods} && \text{spaghetti} && \text{language} && \text{bigger}\end{align*}
    2. Sort the words that contain [g] into these three groups:
      Words in which [g] is spelled ...
      <g> <gg> <gh>
           
           
           
    3. Three ways to spell [g] are _______, _______, and _______.
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}  & do\underline{gg}ing  &&  bi\underline{gg}est  &&  a\underline{g}ain  &&  \underline{gh}ost \\ & \underline{g}oods  &&  spa\underline{gh}etti  &&  lan\underline{g}uage  &&  bi\underline{gg}er \end{align*}
    2. Words in which [g] is spelled ...
      <g> <gg> <gh>
      again dogging ghost
      goods biggest spaghetti
      language bigger  
    3. Three ways to spell [g] are <g><gg>, and <gh>.

    Explore More

    You may be confused by the <g> at the end of according and the second <g> in language. Neither of these <g>'s spells the sound [g]. The <g> in according teams up with <n> to spell a single sound that most dictionaries symbolize as [ng] but that linguists usually symbolize with the symbol they call eng, [ŋ]. 

    The second <g> in language is the soft <g> that students may be familiar with from reading class, the [j] sound that <g> usually spells when it is followed by <e>, <i>, or <y>. Language is an interesting word in that it contains both hard and soft <g>'s. The general point here is that the letter <g> does not always spell the sound [g].

    Spelling [g]

    Usually the sound [g] is spelled <g>. It is spelled that way nine times out of ten.

    Examples

    The following words have the sound [g] spelled <g>:

    gate     program     girl     pilgrim     guitar

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [g] in the following words: 
      \begin{align*} &\text{recognize} && \text{disagreement} && \text{graduate} && \text{agriculturist}\\ &\text{resignation} && \text{angled} && \text{polliwog} && \text{delegate}\\ &\text{poltergeist} &&\text{gasoline} && \text{magazine} && \text{glorious}\\ &\text{gloomiest} &&\text{designate} && \text{regularly} && \text{debug}\\ &\text{gluey} &&\text{argued} && \text{ingredient} && \text{groceries}\\ &\text{suggestion} &&\text{angrily} && \text{alligator} && \text{greasy}\end{align*}
    2. Sort the words into these three groups:
      Words with [g] ...
      at the front in the middle   at the end
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
    3. How is [g] spelled in all of these words? ________ 
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*} & reco\underline{g}nize  &&  disa\underline{g}reement  &&  \underline{g}raduate  &&  a\underline{g}riculturist \\ & resi\underline{g}nation  &&  an\underline{g}led  &&  polliwo\underline{g}  &&  dele\underline{g}ate \\ & polter\underline{g}eist  && \underline{g}asoline  &&  ma\underline{g}azine  &&  \underline{g}lorious \\ & \underline{g}loomiest  && desi\underline{g}nate  &&  re\underline{g}ularly  &&  debu\underline{g} \\ & \underline{g}luey  && ar\underline{g}ued  &&  in\underline{g}redient  &&  \underline{g}roceries \\ & su\underline{gg}estion  && an\underline{g}rily  &&  alli\underline{g}ator  &&  \underline{g}reasy \end{align*}
    2. Words with [g] ...
      at the front in the middle   at the end
      gloomiest recognize angrily polliwog
      gluey resignation magazine debug
      gasoline poltergeist regularly  
      graduate suggestion ingredient  
      glorious disagreement alligator  
      groceries angled agriculturalist  
      greasy designate delegate  
        argued    
    3. How is [g] spelled in all of these words? <g>

    When [g] Is Spelled <gg>

    Sometimes [g] is spelled <gg> because the prefix ad- has assimilated to ag- before a stem that starts with <g>, as in aggression.

    Sometimes [g] is spelled <gg> because of twinning, as in plugged

    Sometimes [g] is spelled <gg> because of the VCC pattern, as in stagger.

    Examples

    Each of the following words contains a <gg> spelling of [g] because of assimilation, twinning, or the VCC pattern.

    Word Analysis
    shrugged shrug + g + ed
    aggression ad + g + gression
    reggae VCC

    Review 

    1. Analyze the words in which the <gg> is due to assimilation or twinning to show where the <gg> comes from. For words in which the <gg> is due to the VCC pattern, just write “VCC” in the Analysis column. 
      Word Analysis
      jogger =
      shrugged =
      aggression =
      luggage =
      snuggies =
      aggravate =
      waterlogged =
      maggot =
      reggae =
      baggage =
      toboggan =
      bowlegged =
      debugging =
      jiggish =
      draggy =
    2. Now sort the fifteen words into these three groups.

      Assimilation Twinning VCC
             
             
             
             
             
             
    3. When a consonant sound has <le> right after it, the two patterns VCle and VCCle come into play, as in the following examples.

      VCle Pattern with a Long Vowel VCCle Pattern with a Short Vowel
      gable gabble
      rifle riffle
      ruble rubble
      cradle straddle
      idle riddle

      There are some [g] words with the VCle and VCCle patterns. Mark the VCle and VCCle patterns in the following words.
      \begin{align*} &\text{jiggle} && \text{bugle} && \text{jungle} && \text{bedraggled}\\ &\text{joggle} && \text{smuggle} && \text{angle} && \text{single}\\ &\text{struggle} &&\text{wriggle} && \text{ogle} && \text{boondoggle}\end{align*}
    4. Sort the words above into this matrix:
      Words with [g] spelled ...
        <g> <gg>
      Words with a short vowel sound before the [g]    
      Words with a long vowel sound before the [g]    
    5. In words with a [g] followed by <le>, the [g] will be spelled ______ if it has a short vowel in front of it; if it has a long vowel or a consonant in front of it, it will be spelled ___________.

    Answer
    1. Word Analysis
      jogger jog + g + er
      shrugged shrug + g + ed
      aggression ad + g + gression
      luggage lug + g + age
      snuggies snug + g + y + i + es
      aggravate ad + g + gravate
      waterlogged waterlog + g + ed
      maggot VCC
      reggae VCC
      baggage bag + g + age
      toboggan VCC
      bowlegged bowleg + g + ed
      debugging debug + g + ing
      jiggish jig + g + ish
      draggy drag + g + y
    2. Words with [g] spelled <gg> because of ...
      Assimilation Twinning VCC
      aggression jogger bowlegged maggot
      aggravate shrugged debugging reggae
        luggage jiggish toboggan
        snuggies draggy  
        waterlogged    
        baggage    
    3. \begin{align*} &\text{jiggle} && \text{bugle} && \text{jungle} && \text{bedraggled}\\& vccle && vcle && vccle && vccle\\ &\text{joggle} && \text{smuggle} && \text{angle} && \text{single}\\& vccle && vccle && vccle && vccle\\ &\text{struggle} &&\text{wriggle} && \text{ogle} && \text{boondoggle}\\& vccle && vccle && vcle && vccle\end{align*}
    4. Words with [g] spelled ...
        <g> <gg>
      Words with a short vowel sound before the [g]

      jungle

      angle

      single

      jiggle

      joggle

      struggle

      smuggle

      wriggle

      bedraggled

      boondoggle

      Words with a long vowel sound before the [g]

      bugle

      ogle

       
    5. In words with a [g] followed by <le>, the [g] will be spelled <gg> if it has a short vowel in front of it; if it has a long vowel or a consonant in front of it, it will be spelled <g>.

    [g] Spelled <gu> and <gh>

    Usually when a <g> is followed by the letters <e>, <i>, or <y>, it is pronounced [j] and is called soft <g>.

    Sometimes when a [g] sound has an <e>, <i>, or <y> right after it, the [g] sound will be spelled <g> with an insulating <u> standing between the <g> and the <e>, <i>, or <y> to keep the <g> from looking as if it should be pronounced [j].

    Originally these words were spelled with no <u> in English. The <u> was added in the 16th century, probably to reflect an older French spelling with <gu>, pronounced [gw].

    Also there is one common element that means “speech” and that contains the <g> spelling of [g] with an insulating <u>. The element is logue. Remember that logue means “words or speech,” and be ready to discuss these questions:

    If dia- means “two,” what is a dialogue?

    If mono- means “one,” what is a monologue?

    If pro- means “before,” what is a prologue?

    What is a travelogue?

    If cata- means “complete,” why is a catalogue called a catalogue?

    Words that end <logue> can usually also be spelled <log>. Dialog, monolog, prolog, travelog, catalog, epilog are all correct spellings, too.

    Examples

    Examples of <gu> before an <e>, <i>, or <y> include the following.

    guy    guide    intrigue

    There are also a few words where [g] is actually spelled <gu> in front of <a>.

    guarantee    guard    safeguard    guardian

    In a very few words, the sound [g] is spelled <gh>, as in ghost.

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [g] in the following words.
      \begin{align*} &\text{gluey} && \text{colleague} && \text{disguise} && \text{guys} && \text{aghast}\\ &\text{ghastly} && \text{ghoulish} && \text{ghetto} && \text{ghosts} &&\text{spaghetti}\\ &\text{plague} &&\text{agriculture} && \text{agreements} && \text{guilty} && \text{dinghy}\\ &\text{baggage} &&\text{luggage} && \text{toboggan} && \text{aggressive} && \text{ingredient}\\ &\text{league} &&\text{suggestion} && \text{angles} && \text{bedraggled} && \text{boondoggle}\end{align*}
    2. Sort the above words into these groups.
      Words in which [g] is spelled . . .
      <g> with an insulating <u> <g>             <gh>             <gg>            
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*} & \underline{g}luey  &&  collea\underline{g}ue  &&  dis\underline{g}uise  &&  \underline{g}uys  &&  a\underline{g}hast \\ & \underline{g}hastly  &&  \underline{g}houlish  &&  \underline{g}hetto  &&  \underline{g}hosts  && spa\underline{g}hetti \\ & pla\underline{g}ue  && a\underline{g}riculture  &&  a\underline{g}reements  &&  \underline{g}uilty  &&  din\underline{g}hy \\ & ba\underline{gg}age  && lu\underline{gg}age  &&  tobo\underline{gg}an  &&  a\underline{gg}ressive  &&  in\underline{g}redient \\ & lea\underline{g}ue  && su\underline{gg}estion  &&  an\underline{g}les  &&  bedra\underline{gg}led  &&  boondo\underline{gg}le \end{align*}
    2. Words in which [g] is spelled . . .
      <g> with an insulating <u> <g> <gh> <gg>
      colleague gluey aghast baggage
      disguise agriculture ghastly luggage
      guys agreements ghoulish toboggan
      plague ingredient ghetto aggressive
      guilty suggestion ghosts bedraggled
      league angles spaghetti boondoggled
          dinghy  

    Pronunciations of <gh>

    In very few words [g] is spelled <gh>. But <gh> is not always pronounced [g]. Sometimes it is pronounced [f], and sometimes it is not pronounced at all.

    Examples

    The following words have <gh> pronounced [f]:

    cough     laugh     trough     enough

    Review

    1. Carefully read the following words with <gh>. Be sure you know how each one is pronounced. Mark each word to show what the <gh> spells as we have done with ghastly, freight, and toughness. Use the zero sign, Ø, if the <gh> is not pronounced at all. Then sort the words into this matrix:
      \begin{align*} &\text{although} && \text{coughed} && \text{delightful} && \text{eighth} && \text{enough} && \text{freight}\\ &\text{ghastly} && \text{ghetto} && \text{ghosts} && \text{ghoulish} && \text{height} && \text{knight}\\ &\text{laughter} &&\text{overweight} && \text{overweight} && \text{roughen} && \text{tightest} && \text{toughness}\end{align*}
        [g] [f] [Ø]
      Words in which <gh> is at the front of the element      
      Words in which <gh> is at the end of the element with a short vowel in front of it      

      Words in which <gh> is either in the middle of the element or has a long vowel in front of it

           
    2. When <gh> comes at the beginning of an element, how is it pronounced? _________. When <gh> spells the sound [f], is it at the front, middle, or end of the element it is in? _________. When <gh> spells the sound [f], does it have a short vowel in front of it, or a long vowel? _________ If there is a long vowel sound right in front of <gh>, is it pronounced or not pronounced? _________.
    Show Answer
    1. Words in which <gh> spells . . .
        [g] [f] [Ø]
      Words in which <gh> is at the front of the element

      ghastly

      ghosts

      ghoulish

      ghetto

         
      Words in which <gh> is at the end of the element with a short vowel in front of it  

      coughed

      toughness

      roughen

      enough

      laughter

       

      Words in which <gh> is either in the middle of the element or has a long vowel in front of it

         

      freight

      neighbor

      tightest

      although

      eighth

      delightful

      knight

      overweight

      height

    2. When <gh> comes at the beginning of an element, how is it pronounced? [g] . When <gh> spells the sound [f], is it at the front, middle, or end of the element it is in? end. When <gh> spells the sound [f], does it have a short vowel in front of it, or a long vowel? short If there is a long vowel sound right in front of <gh>, is it pronounced or not pronounced? not pronounced

     Explore More

    Word Find. This Find contains at least twenty-three words that contain the spelling <gh>. As you find them, sort them into the groups described below:

    Words in which <gh> spells . . .
    [g] [Ø] [f]
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
    Show Answer

    1. Words in which <gh> spells . . .
      [g] [Ø] [f]
      spaghetti delightful eight laughing
      gherkin tightest neighbor toughness
      ghetto freight brightening roughen
      aghast overweight right coughed
      ghosts height   trough
      ghastly     rough
      ghoulish     enough

    <x> When You Hear [g]

    Sometimes the letter <x> spells the combination [ks], and sometimes it spells the combination [gz]. 

    Sometimes a word can be pronounced either with a [ks] or [gz].

    Almost always the <x> that spells [gz] is in the prefix ex-, and the stem that follows the prefix begins with a vowel.

    Examples

    Some people pronounce exit with a [ks], [éksit], and some people pronounce it with a [gz], [égzit]. Either pronunciation is correct.

    Review

    Analyze each of the following words, all of which contain the prefix ex-.

    Word = Formula = Analysis
    1. exercised = Prefix + stem =
    2. inexactly = Prefix + prefix + base + suffix =
    3. explosion = Prefix + stem =
    4. extensive = Prefix + stem =
    5. exhaustive = Prefix + base + suffix =
    6. exhibit = Prefix + stem =
    7. examined = Prefix + stem =
    8 .exposure = Prefix + base + suffix =
    9. exclude = Prefix + stem =
    10. extended = Prefix + base + suffix =
    11. executive = Prefix + stem =
    12. exorbitant = Prefix + stem =
    13. exclusive = Prefix + stem =
    Show Answer
    Word Formula Analysis
    1. exercised = Prefix + stem ex + ercised
    2. inexactly = Prefix + prefix + base + suffix in + ex + act + ly
    3. explosion = Prefix + stem ex + plosion
    4. extensive = Prefix + stem ex + tensive
    5. exhaustive = Prefix + base + suffix ex + haust + ive
    6. exhibit = Prefix + stem ex + hibit
    7. examined = Prefix + stem ex + amined
    8. exposure = Prefix + base + suffix ex + pose+ ure
    9. exclude = Prefix + stem ex + clude
    10. extended = Prefix + base + suffix ex + tend + ed
    11. executive = Prefix + stem ex + ecutive
    12. exorbitant = Prefix + stem ex + orbitant
    13. exclusive = Prefix + stem ex + clusive

    Explore More

    Some other things about [g] and <g>:

    One other common word in which <x> spells [gz] is auxiliary.

    The only word that ends in <gg> is egg.

    In the word mortgage, the [g] is spelled <tg>. The word mortgage is a compound that contains two bases: mort, which means “death” (as in words like mortal and mortuary), and gage, which means “promise or pledge.” When we try to pronounce [t] and [g] together, we find it difficult, and to simplify the pronunciation, the [t] sound is left out. So in mortgage [g] is spelled <tg>.