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2.15: The Consonant Sound [m]

  • Page ID
    7064
  • Spelling [m]

    The consonant sound [m] is usually spelled <m>. More than nine times out of ten [m] is spelled this way. 

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [m] in the following words:
      \begin{align*}
          & \text{crumble} && \text{motionless} && \text{compared} && \text{umbrella}\\
          & \text{resemble} && \text{exclaim} && \text{costume} && \text{mortal}\\
          & \text{element} && \text{minnow} && \text{meddle} && \text{economics}\\
          & \text{handsome} && \text{poem} && \text{diamonds} && \text{chemical}\\
          & \text{eminent} && \text{judgment} && \text{smoothest} && \text{enormous}
      \end{align*}
    2. How is [m] spelled in all of these words? ________. 
    3. Now sort the twenty words into these three groups. One word will be in two groups:
      Words in which [m] is...
      at the front of the word at the end of the word in the middle of the word
             
             
             
             
             
             
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}
          &  cru\underline{m}ble  &&  \underline{m}otionless  &&  co\underline{m}pared  &&  u\underline{m}brella \\
          &  rese\underline{m}ble  &&  exclai\underline{m}  &&  costu\underline{m}e  &&  \underline{m}ortal \\
          &  ele\underline{m}ent  &&  \underline{m}innow  &&  \underline{m}eddle  &&  econo\underline{m}ics \\
          &  handso\underline{m}e  &&  poe\underline{m}  &&  dia\underline{m}onds  &&  che\underline{m}ical \\
          &  e\underline{m}inent  &&  judge\underline{m}ent  &&  s\underline{m}oothest  &&  enor\underline{m}ous 
      \end{align*}
    2. How is [m] spelled in all of these words? ‘m’
    3. Words in which [m] is...
      at the front of the word at the end of the word in the middle of the word
      motionless handsome crumble diamonds
      minnow exclaim resemble smoothest
      meddle poem element umbrella
      mortal costume eminent economics
          judgment chemical
          compared enormous

    Explore More

    Word Venn. Into circle A put only words that contain [m]. Into circle B put only words that contain [η]. Into circle C put only words that contain [n].

    \begin{align*}
        & \text{anger} && \text{comprehend} && \text{immigrate} && \text{morning}\\
        & \text{ankle} && \text{emigrant} && \text{instructing} && \text{nibbling}\\
        & \text{avenue} && \text{floating} && \text{island} && \text{poetry}\\
        & \text{bubbling} && \text{friendliness} && \text{judgement} && \text{scribble}\\
        & \text{bundling} && \text{gamble} && \text{junior} && \text{smoking}\\
        & \text{charming} && \text{handsome} && \text{meaning} && \text{summoning}\\
        & \text{committing} && \text{humbling} && \text{middle} && \text{suppose}\\
        & \text{commotion} && \text{husband} && \text{mining} && \text{your}
    \end{align*}

    Show Answer

    [m] Spelled <mm>

    Almost ninety-nine times out of a hundred the sound [m] will be spelled <m> or <mm>.

    Sometimes twinning can cause [m] to be spelled <mm>: swimming = swim + m + ing. When the prefixes in- or sub- assimilate in front of a stem that starts with an <m>, they cause an <mm>: immigrant = n + m + migrant and summon = su b + m + mon. When any element that ends with <m> joins another element that starts with <m>, they cause an <mm> through simple addition: roommate = room + mate

    In cases where the [m] sound has a short vowel right in front of it and another vowel following it, the <mm> is necessary to fill out the VCC pattern that shows that the vowel in front of the [m] is short. For instance, if comma were spelled <coma>, it would look as if the <o> is long, as it is in the word coma.

    Examples

    Words Analysis Cause
    swimming swim + m + ing Twinning
    immigrant n + m + migrant Assimilation
    roommate room + mate Simple Addition

    Review

    Analyze each word to show where the two <m>s come from. Then in the “Cause” column write the cause for the <mm> in each word — either “Twinning,” “Assimilation,” or “Simple Addition.” 

    Words Analysis Cause
    1. immediate    
    2. brimming    
    3. teammate    
    4. gummy    
    5. dimmest    
    6. immortal    
    7. slammed    
    8. summon    
    9. immune    

    10. Words like the twelve below have <mm> spellings that are not due to twinning or assimilation or simple addition. In each word, label the vowel right in front of the <mm> with a V. Then label the <mm> CC, as we have done with comma:

    \begin{align*}& \text{comma} && \text{dilemma } && \text{dummy} && \text{gimmick} \\ & \ \ \text{VCC} \\ \\ & \text{glimmer} && \text{hammer} && \text{mammal} && \text{mammoth} \\ \\ & \text{mummy} && \text{persimmon} && \text{stammer} && \text{summer}\end{align*}

    11. What pattern did you find in all the words? ___________. Is the vowel in front of the <mm> always short? ___________

    12. So far you have worked with two spellings of [m]. They are ______ and ______.

    Show Answer
    Words Analysis Cause
    1. immediate i n + mediate Assimilation
    2. brimming brim + m + ing Twinning
    3. teammate team+mate Simple Addition
    4. gummy gum + m + y Twinning
    5. dimmest dim + m + est Twinnest
    6. immortal n + m + mortal Assimilation
    7. slammed slam + m + ed Twinning
    8. summon su b + m + mon Assimilation
    9. immune n + m + mune Assimilation

    10.

    \begin{align*}& \text{comma} && \text{dilemma } && \text{dummy} && \text{gimmick} \\ & \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} \\ & \text{glimmer} && \text{hammer} && \text{mammal} && \text{mammoth} \\ & \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} \\ & \text{mummy} && \text{persimmon} && \text{stammer} && \text{summer} \\ & \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc} && \quad \text{vcc}\end{align*}

    11. What pattern did you find in all the words? VCC. Is the vowel in front of the <mm> always short? Yes

    12. So far you have worked with two spellings of [m]. They are <m> and <mm>.

    Unusual Spellings of [m]: <mn>, <mb>, and <lm>

    When the letter <m> is combined with certain letters, those letters can be silent and the combination can still make the sound [m].

    This can happen in the combinations <mn>, <mb>, and <lm>.

    Note that for <lm>, many people hear and/or pronounce the <l>, but dictionaries usually show no [l] sound for the words used in this lesson.

    Examples

    Underline the letters that make the [m] sound in each word.

    1. column
    2. crumb
    3. palm

    Review

    Underline the letters that make the [m] sound in each word.

    1. autumn
    2. limb
    3. tomb
    4. condemn
    5. climb
    6. hymn
    7. numb
    8. womb
    9. damn
    10. solemn
    11. comb
    12. lamb
    13. thumb
    14. In the above words, where is the <mn> or <mb>? Is it at the beginning, the middle, or the end of each word? _________

      Underline the letters that make the [m] sound in each word.
    15. embalm
    16. alms
    17. psalm
    18. almond
    19. salmon
    Show Answer

    Underline the letters that make the [m] sound in each word.

    1. autumn
    2. limb
    3. tomb
    4. condemn
    5. climb
    6. hymn
    7. numb
    8. womb
    9. damn
    10. solemn
    11. comb
    12. lamb
    13. thumb
    14. In the above words, where is the <mn> or <mb>? Is it at the beginning, the middle, or the end of each word?    at the end  

      Underline the letters that make the [m] sound in each word.
    15. embalm
    16. alms
    17. psalm
    18. almond
    19. salmon

    Explore More

    1. The six words with <mn> in this lesson come from Latin.
      English Word Latin Source
      autumn autumnus
      column columna
      condemn condemnare
      damn damnare
      hymn hymnus
      solemn solemnis

      Is the <mn> in the beginning, end, or in the middle of the Latin source words? ____________
    2. When you add certain suffixes to these six words so the <mn> is in the middle as it is in Latin, you pronounce both the <m> and the <n>, so the <mn> is pronounced [mn]. Say each of the following words carefully to see how the <mn> is pronounced. Then analyze each of the words into its free stem word and suffix:
      Words How is <mn> pronounced? Stem word + Prefix
      autumnal [mn] autumn + al
      columnist    
      condemnation    
      damnable    
      hymnal    
      solemnity    
    3. All words used in this lesson with <mb> come from Latin or Old English words. Fill in the blanks so as to show which modern words came from each of the Latin or Old English originals.
      Original Words Modern Words with <mb>
      Latin, bombus  
      Old English, climban  
      Old English, comb  
      Old English, cruma  
      Old English, dumb  
      Old English, lamb  
      Old English, lim  
      Old English, niman  
      Old English, thuma  
      Latin, tumba  
      Old English, wamb  
    4. Sort the eleven English words from the table above into these three groups.
      Words that come from ...
      a Latin word with an <mb> an Old English word with an <mb> an Old English word with no <mb>
           
           
           
           
           
    5. Just as with <mn>, sometimes you can hear the <b> in <mb> if you add a suffix to the word so that the <mb> doesn't come right at the end. Put these words together and see how the <mb> is pronounced in the longer word you make.
      Stem word + suffix = New Word How is <mb> pronounced in the new word?
      bomb + ard =  
      crumb + le =  
    6. The word thumb is related to the word thimble. In thimble how is the <mb> pronounced? ________
    7. Below are the Old English or Latin words that the six words with <lm> come from. See if you can figure out which of the six came from each of the original words listed below, and fill in the blanks. As a reminder, the six used were salmonbalm/embalm, psalm, almond, palm, and alms. 
      Original Words Modern Words with <lm>
      Latin, balsamum  
      Latin, psalmus  
      Latin, salmo  
      Latin, amandula  
      Latin, palma  
      Old English, ælmesse  
    8. Now sort the six modern words into these two groups.
      Modern words with ...
      <lm> in the original word no <lm> in the original word
         
         
         
         
    Show Answer
    1. The six words with <mn> in this lesson come from Latin.
      English Word Latin Source
      autumn autumnus
      column columna
      condemn condemnare
      damn damnare
      hymn hymnus
      solemn solemnis

      Is the <mn> in the beginning, end, or in the middle of the Latin source words? in the middle
    2. When you add certain suffixes to these six words so the <mn> is in the middle as it is in Latin, you pronounce both the <m> and the <n>, so the <mn> is pronounced [mn]. Say each of the following words carefully to see how the <mn> is pronounced. Then analyze each of the words into its free stem word and suffix:
      Words How is <mn> pronounced? Free Stem + suffix
      autumnal [mn] autumn + al
      columnist [mn] column + ist
      condemnation [mn] condemn + ation
      damnable [mn] damn + able
      hymnal [mn] hymn + al
      solemnity [mn] solemn + ity
    3. All words used in this lesson with <mb> come from Latin or Old English words. Fill in the blanks so as to show which modern words came from each of the Latin or Old English originals.
      Original Words Modern Words with <mb>
      Latin, bombus bomb
      Old English, climban climb
      Old English, comb comb
      Old English, cruma crumb
      Old English, dumb dumb
      Old English, lamb lamb
      Old English, lim limb
      Old English, niman numb
      Old English, thuma thumb
      Latin, tumba tomb
      Old English, wamb womb
    4. Sort the eleven English words from the table above into these three groups.
      Words that come from ...
      a Latin word with an <mb> an Old English word with an <mb> an Old English word with no <mb>
      bomb climb crumb
      tomb comb limb
        dumb numb
        lamb thumb
        womb  
    5. Just as with <mn>, sometimes you can hear the <b> in <mb> if you add a suffix to the word so that the <mb> doesn't come right at the end. Put these words together and see how the <mb> is pronounced in the longer word you make.
      Stem word + suffix = New Word How is <mb> pronounced in the new word?
      bomb + ard bombard [mb]
      crumb + le crumble [mb]
    6. The word thumb is related to the word thimble. In thimble how is the <mb> pronounced? [mb]
    7. Below are the Old English or Latin words that the six words with <lm> come from. See if you can figure out which of the six came from each of the original words listed below, and fill in the blanks. As a reminder, the six used were salmonbalm/embalm, psalm, almond, palm, and alms. 
      Original Words Modern Words with <lm>
      Latin, balsamum balm
      Latin, psalmus psalm
      Latin, salmo salmon
      Latin, amandula almond
      Latin, palma palm
      Old English, ælmesse alms
    8. Now sort the six modern words into these two groups.
      Modern words with ...
      <lm> in the original word no <lm> in the original word
      psalm balm
      salmon almond
      palm  
      alms  

     

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