Recently in working with my student we came across the word <valuable>, I am finding myself questioning that we replace the final <e> and replace it with the vowel suffix <-able>.  

I write the word sum:

<valu/e> + <-able> --> valuable

I am questioning replacing the <e> because I am seeing it as part of a vowel digraph and I would not think it possible to remove part of it. 

I have asked the following questions:

is the <e> a single non syllabic <e> ?  Possibly because I believe English words do not end in <u> therefore <e> is there to prevent that final <u>

In that case, are we able to take the letter <e> away?

 

??

Comments (3)

  1. Peter Bowers

Ah marker letters!
I love your line of inquiry Noreen. And just so you know, you are raising questions that I am still grappling with -- and you are helping me grapple. When is that final <e> an orthographic marker and when is it part of a grapheme? Can it be both?

This is actually an area of orthography that has really grabbed my attention of late, and your posts are just highlighting that for me. What I love is that even though you and I are still working through the details, it has resulted in helping your student ganging a sense of understanding. It does not have to be a final understanding - but it is on a healthy path. Giver your student a thumbs up from me!

  Attachments
 
  1. Noreen Battaglia

Pete,

You said: So this suggests to me that we do not have a digraph <ue> in words like <value> but a grapheme <u> followed by an orthographic marker <e> that in this case functions to prevent a word ending in <u>. With that understanding, this word sum does not challenge our hypothesis of not changing part of a digraph in suffixing:

This is so interesting to me, and if I allowed my thinking to go further to question orthographic all markers, I ay not have considered <ue> a vowel digraph or complete grapheme in the first place.

I am wondering about other vowels that appear as digraphs like <ie> and <oe>, is the <e> a marker to form a lexical word as in <tie> and <toe>.

Thanks for writing, I shared with my student, and at the end of our discussion she put her thumb up to me, her sign for saying "yes, I understand."

  Attachments
 
  1. Peter Bowers

Wonderful question Noreen!

You have uncovered some rich questions here that I am still working through. I am delighted to share where my current thinking is...

Like you, I have been operating with the working hypothesis that we don't change part of a grapheme (digraph or trigraph) during suffixing. My hypothesis is that this is why we don't change the <y> to an <i> when adding a suffix if there is a vowel letter immediately before that <y>. I take <ay>, <ey>, <uy>, <oy> to be digraphs, and thus we don't change part of the digraph when adding a suffix. I don't know if there are any situations where we change part of a digraph or trigraph during suffixing -- but it is questions like yours that have helped me refine my thinking.

It seems to me that while we might think of <ue> as a digraph -- and thus reject the above hypothesis -- there is another way that I look at this. We know that we can't spell the base <value> without that final, non-syllabic <e> ( *<valu> ) because that would conflict with the convention that no complete English word ends in <u>, write <ue>. So this suggests to me that we do not have a digraph <ue> in words like <value> but a grapheme <u> followed by an orthographic marker <e> that in this case functions to prevent a word ending in <u>. With that understanding, this word sum does not challenge our hypothesis of not changing part of a digraph in suffixing:

value/ + able --> valuable

There is another place where your question has made me wonder -- and that is with what I had taken to be the <dge> trigraph. If that is a trigraph, then we have problems with a word sum like these:

judge/ + ing --> judging
grudge/ + es --> grudges (need the <-es> since this suffix is syllabic)
smudge/ + ed --> smudged

So my wondering here is if this is really a trigraph <dge>, or perhaps it is better conceived of as a digraph <dg> with a marker <e>. The question is what is that marker <e> doing exactly?

We know that the <g> grapheme cannot represent /ʤ/ unless it is followed by an <e>, <i>, or <y>, so we have the <e> acting as a phonological marker at the end of words like <package> or <page>. Perhaps we could think of <dg> as a digraph with a marker <e> then?

I'm not sure about all this, but I'm sure you are onto a rich vein to investigate. I'll point others to this question to see if we can develop a clearer understanding.

I will say that I've been really fascinated by diving in to "orthographic markers" I think that this is a particularly rich area of orthography that has much to reveal to us. Gina has been using the term "literal markers" I think -- which I think really works well.

Let's see where we go next!

Cheers,

Pete

  Attachments
  Comment was last edited about 11 months ago by Peter Bowers Peter Bowers
There are no comments posted here yet