Posted by: Idioma Extra | May 28, 2010

Thursday’s Tidbit


Pronunciation of ‘g’

From www.bbc.com

The pronunciation of ‘g’ generally (but not always) depends on the letter that follows it. The general rule is this:

If the letter after ‘g’ is ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’, the pronunciation is a ‘soft g’ as in ‘fringe’.

Some examples of words with the soft ‘g’ are:

general, giant, gymnastics, large, energy and change.

Any other letter that follows requires a ‘hard’ pronunciation of ‘g’ as in ‘progress.’

Some more examples are:

golf, pig, great, grasp and gum.

**A bit of extra info for you: if a word derives from German, it’s usually a hard ‘g’, and if it is a Latin or French derivative, it’s a soft ‘g’.**

So can you think of a word which has two g’s and uses both rules? That’d be ‘language’! And ‘garage’ and ‘gigantic’ too. However, as always with English, there are many irregularities. Words like ‘get’ and ‘give’ break the rule which is unfortunate for learners of English. We suggest making a note of exceptions to help you remember them, so here are a few exceptions to ‘get’ you started:

tiger, gift, girl and gear.

Test Yourself!

Read the following sentences aloud and decide what type of ‘g’ pronunciation the following words have:

1. Can you guess how many countries there are in the world?
2. That guy wasn’t very polite to you!
3. The employee at the supermarket was really nice and bagged all our groceries!
4. I don’t understand why kids these days have so much rage!
5. Is the common cold contagious?

Answers from the Last Tidbit

1.Carlos gave Maria a study guide for material *that* was going to be on the test. [To say simply “Carlos gave Maria a study guide for material” would not be complete information. We need the adjective clause to tell us which material, in particular. Since the information is, therefore, essential, we use that and no comma.]

2.Carlos gave Maria notes from chapters 3 through 7, *which* were going to be on the test. [The fact that chapters 3 through 7 were going to be on the test is not essential to our understanding exactly which notes Carlos gave Maria, so we use a comma and which.]

3.Mark and Sarah took their children on every vacation *that* they took to the coast. [If we said simply “Mark and Sarah took their children on every vacation,” we would be inaccurate. The information in the adjective clause is essential to our understanding that the children went on certain vacations and not others. Therefore, we use that and no comma.]

4.The teachers gave awards to all paintings that showed originality. [To say simply “The teachers gave awards to all paintings” would be inaccurate. The information in the adjective clause is, therefore, essential to the meaning of the sentence, so we use that and no comma.]

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