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Re: My favorite silent English letter is:

by cjb (Friar)
on Feb 29, 2012 at 13:09 UTC ( #956922=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to My favorite silent English letter is:

I'm not sure about "f as in halfpenny".

That's a silent "lf" in English-English pronunciation.


Comment on Re: My favorite silent English letter is:
Re^2: My favorite silent English letter is:
by gregor42 (Parson) on Mar 05, 2012 at 19:33 UTC
    halfpenny did not work for me as well. Shall we go with giraffe ?


    Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!

      Actually "halfpenny" works for me because the "l" is missing in the pronunciation of "half" anyway, so in English-English "halfpenny" only loses the "f" as there there was no "l" to lose. I would say something like "haaf" for "half" normally but "halfpenny" is like "haypenny".

      "giraffe" has an "f" at the end when I say it. Can you say it without one? Wouldn't that just be "gira"?

        Looking at the OED it would appear that there might be some Americans who don't pronounce the second "f" in "fifth", so it would be more like "fith", but I am struggling to think of a genuine standardly-pronounced word with a silent f.

        Concerning "giraffe":

        I highlighted the second 'f' to indicate which letter was the silent one. This was an attempt to be consistent with other examples appearing on the list.

        Source: "The final ⟨fe⟩ in giraffe gives a clue to the second-syllable stress, where *giraf might suggest initial-stress."

        Concerning "halfpenny":

        I was, admittedly, referring to the American-English pronunciation wherein I have yet to ever hear "hay-penny" but instead hear something closer to "haff-penny". Based on that experience the 'l' is dubiously silent.

        I will not be lured into a test of yellow arcs regarding American vs. British usage of a commonly misunderstood language however. Let us instead both smirk at how odd we appear to each other & move on, enriched by the knowledge.



        Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!

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