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2.20: The Consonant Sounds [w] and [y]

  • Page ID
    7069
  • Overview of the Consonant Sounds [w] and [y]

    Examples

    You can hear [w] at the beginning of wet

    You can hear [y] at the beginning of yet.

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [w] and [y] in these words:
      \begin{align*}
          & \text{warm} && \text{yours} && \text{yearly} && \text{would}\\
          & \text{swimmer} && \text{woman} && \text{toward} && \text{yowl}\\
          & \text{yard} && \text{rewind} && \text{quick} && \text{square}\\
          & \text{beyond} && \text{words} && \text{twinning} && \text{young}
      \end{align*}
    2. Sort the words into these groups:
      Words with the sound ...
      [w]: [y]:
           
           
           
           
           
           
    3. Sort the words with [w] into these two groups:
      Words with [w] spelled ...
      <w>: <u>:
           
           
           
           
    4. In all six of the words that contain [y], the [y] sound is spelled ________.
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}
          &  \underline{w}arm  &&  \underline{y}ours  &&  \underline{y}early  &&  \underline{w}ould \\
          &  s\underline{w}immer  &&  \underline{w}oman  &&  to\underline{w}ard  &&  \underline{y}owl \\
          &  \underline{y}ard  &&  re\underline{w}ind  &&  \underline{qu}ick  &&  s\underline{qu}are \\
          &  be\underline{y}ond  &&  \underline{w}ords  &&  t\underline{w}inning  &&  \underline{y}oung 
      \end{align*}
    2. Words with the sound ...
      [w]: [y]:
      warm quick yard
      swimmer twinning beyond
      woman would yours
      rewind square yearly
      words   yowl
      toward   young
    3. Words with [w] spelled ...
      <w>: <u>:
      warm words quick
      swimmer toward square
      woman twinning  
      rewind would  
    4. In all six of the words that contain [y], the [y] sound is spelled <y>.

    Explore More

    Word Scrambles

    If you unscramble the letters in each of the words below and fit them into the boxes, you will spell five other words that all contain the sounds [w] or [y]. We have given you a start by filling in the letters that spell [w] or [y] in each of the words you are trying to spell:

    Show Answer

    rods - w o r d s

    sour - y o u r s

    moan - w o m a n

    relay - y e a r l y

    boned - b e y o n d

    Spelling [w]

    Examples

    You can hear the sound [w] at the beginning of the words word and weather.

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [w] in the following words:

    \begin{align*}
        & \text{waffles} && \text{sweaty} && \text{witness} && \text{welfare}\\
        & \text{afterward} && \text{weirdest} && \text{weather} && \text{twinkle}\\
        & \text{waitress} && \text{swallow} && \text{reweighed} && \text{sweetheart}\\
        & \text{between} && \text{wisdom} && \text{unwillingly} && \text{notwithstanding}\\
        & \text{waltzes} && \text{unworthy} && \text{twentieth} && \text{twelfth}
    \end{align*}

    Analyze each of the words as directed in the formula. Key: ‘BB’ = Bound base, ‘FB’ = Free base, ‘BS’ = Bound stem, ‘FS’ = Free Stem, ‘P’ = Prefix, ‘S’ = Suffix:

    Word Formula Analysis
    2. waffles FB+S waffle + s
    3. afterward FS+S after + ward
    4. waiters FB+S+S  
    5. between P+BS  
    6. waltzes FB+S  
    7. sweaty FB+S  
    8. weirdest FB+S  
    9. swallowing FB+S  
    10. wisdom BB+S  
    11. unworthy P+FB+S  
    12. witness BB+S  
    13. weathered FS+S  
    14. reweighed P+FB+S  
    15. unwillingly P+FB+S+S  
    16. twentieth FS+S  
    17. welfare BB+FB  
    18. twinkling FS+S  
    19. sweetheart FB+FB  
    20. notwithstanding FB+FB+FB+S  
    21. twelfth BS+S

    22. Now sort the words into the following two groups:

    23. In those seven words in which the [w] is not at the front of an element, it is part of a consonant cluster. Do these clusters come at the front of elements in these words? ___________.

    24. When [w] is spelled <w>, the <w> either comes at the ___________ of an element or it is in a consonant cluster that comes at the ___________ of an element. 

    Show Answer

    1. \begin{align*}
        &  \underline{w}affles  &&  s\underline{w}eaty  &&  \underline{w}itness  &&  \underline{w}elfare \\
        &  after\underline{w}ard  &&  \underline{w}eirdest  &&  \underline{w}eather  &&  t\underline{w}inkle \\
        &  \underline{w}aitress  &&  s\underline{w}allow  &&  re\underline{w}eighed  &&  s\underline{w}eetheart \\
        &  bet\underline{w}een  &&  \underline{w}isdom  &&  un\underline{w}illingly  &&  not\underline{w}ithstanding \\
        &  \underline{w}altzes  &&  un\underline{w}orthy  &&  t\underline{w}entieth  &&  t\underline{w}elfth 
    \end{align*}

    Word Formula Analysis
    2. waffles FB + S waffle + s
    3. afterward FS + S after + ward
    4. waiters FB + S + S wait + er + s
    5. between P + BS be + tween
    6. waltzes FB + S waltz + es
    7. sweaty FB + S sweat + y
    8. weirdest FB + S weird + est
    9. swallowing FB + S swallow + ing
    10. wisdom BB + S wis + dom
    11. unworthy P + FB + S un + worth + y
    12. witness BB + S wit + ness
    13. weathered FS + S weather + ed
    14. reweighed P + FB + S re + weigh + ed
    15. unwillingly P + FB + S + S un + will + ing + ly
    16. twentieth FS + S twent y + i + eth
    17. welfare BB + FB wel + fare
    18. twinkling FS + S twinkl e + ing
    19. sweetheart FB + FB sweet + heart
    20. notwithstanding FB + FB + FB + S not + with + stand + ing
    21. twelfth BS + S twelf + th
    22. 
    Words in which the [w] is ...
    at the front of an element not at the front of an element
    waffles witness between
    afterward weathered sweaty
    waiters reweighed swallowing
    waltzes unwillingly twentieth
    weirdest welfare twinkle
    wisdom notwithstanding sweetheart
    unworthy   twelfth

    23. In those seven words in which the [w] is not at the front of an element, it is part of a consonant cluster. Do these clusters come at the front of elements in these words? At the front.

    24. When [w] is spelled <w>, the <w> either comes at the front of an element or it is in a consonant cluster that comes at the front of an element.

    Other Spellings of [w]

    The three spellings of [w] are <w>, <wh>, and <u>. The spelling <w> always comes at the front of an element or in a consonant cluster that comes at the front of an element. The spelling <u> usually comes after the letter <q> and sometimes after the letters <g>, <s>, or <p>. The spelling <wh> is sometimes pronounced [wh], sometimes [w].

    It is not surprising that [w] is often spelled <u>: The letter <w> was originally just two <u>s run together, <uu>. That is why <w> is called “double-<u>.”

    Examples

    Dictionaries usually give us a choice as to how we should pronounce <wh>: either [hw] or just [w]. You might check yourself: When you say whale, does it sound exactly like your pronunciation of wail? Or do you hear a little puff of air in front, a soft [h]? Hundreds of years ago, whale was spelled hwāl, and the <h> was pronounced [h]. But in time the spelling changed, probably to make it more like the other clusters <ch>, <gh>, <sh>, and <th>. The spelling changed, but the pronunciation more or less stayed the same. Over the centuries that [h] has tended to get lost. That is why dictionaries usually show two different pronunciations for <wh>: [w] and [hw].

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [w] in the following words.
      \begin{align*}
          & \text{awhile} && \text{request} && \text{quantity} && \text{qualities}\\
          & \text{acquaint} && \text{quotation} && \text{quizzes} && \text{squirrel}\\
          & \text{distinguish} && \text{language} && \text{whistle} && \text{frequently}\\
          & \text{persuade} && \text{pueblo} && \text{earthquake} && \text{squeeze}\\
          & \text{everywhere} && \text{somewhat} && \text{equation} && \text{question}\\
          & \text{acquire} && \text{which} && \text{overwhelm} && \text{whizzed}
      \end{align*}
    2. You should have found two different spellings of [w]. Seven words have the first spelling; seventeen have the second. Sort the words into the following two groups.

      Words with [w] spelled...
      way #1 way #2
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
    3. Look at the seventeen words in which [w] is spelled <u>. In each one mark the letter that comes right in front of the <u> that is spelling [w]. You should have found four different consonants that come before the <u>. The first of the consonants is in thirteen of the words; the second is in two words, and the third and fourth are in one word each. Sort the words into the following groups.

      Words in which the <u> follows <q>:
           
           
           
           
           
      Words in which the <u> follows...
      <g> <s> <p>
           
           
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}
          &  a\underline{wh}ile  &&  re\underline{qu}est  &&  \underline{qu}antity  &&  \underline{qu}alities \\
          &  ac\underline{qu}aint  &&  \underline{qu}otation  &&  \underline{qu}izzes  &&  s\underline{qu}irrel \\
          &  disting\underline{u}ish  &&  lang\underline{u}age  &&  \underline{wh}istle  &&  fre\underline{qu}ently \\
          &  pers\underline{u}ade  &&  p\underline{u}eblo  &&  earth\underline{qu}ake  &&  s\underline{qu}eeze \\
          &  every\underline{wh}ere  &&  some\underline{wh}at  &&  e\underline{qu}ation  &&  \underline{qu}estion \\
          &  ac\underline{qu}ire  &&  \underline{wh}ich  &&  over\underline{wh}elm  &&  \underline{wh}izzed 
      \end{align*}
    2. Words with [w] spelled...
      way #1 way #2
      awhile acquaint quizzes
      everywhere distinguish earthquake
      somewhat persuade equation
      which acquire qualities
      whistle request squirrel
      overwhelm quotation frequently
      whizzed language squeeze
        pueblo question
        quantity  
    3. Words in which the <u> follows <q>:
      acquaint quizzes frequently
      acquire earthquake squeeze
      request equation question
      quotation qualities  
      quantity squirrel  
      Words in which the <u> follows...
      <g> <s> <p>
      distinguish persuaded pueblo
      language    

    Explore More

    Word Histories. One set of homophones with [w] is weatherwhether, and wetherWeather comes from an Old English word that meant “Weather, storm, wind.” It is related to the words wind and window. A sentence that can help with the <w> spelling: “The wind and weather came through the broken window.”

    Whether, as in “I don't know whether to go or not,” comes from an Old English word that is closely related to words like what, why, which, when, all of which contain the <wh> spelling.

    The rare wether “a male sheep” comes from an Old English word that is related to the word veterinarian. Notice that neither veterinarian nor wether have an <h> or an <a> among the first three letters.