air

bairn

cairn

chair

fair

flair

hair

lair

laird

pair

stair

tairn

affair

airbags

airbrush

airbus

airdrop

airer

airfare

airflow

airhead

airhole

airing

airless

airlift

airline

airmail

airplay

airport

airship

airsick

airspace

airstrip

airwave

airways

clairvoyant

corsair

debonair

despair

eclair

fairly

funfair

hairball

hairband

haircut

hairdo

hairline

hairnet

hairpin

impair

mohair

Pitcairn

repair

unfair

upstairs

3 thoughts on “air as in hair

  1. Adrian

    Hi Alison,
    We have been teaching ‘air’ to our Y3 and Y4 students and I have been thinking about the place of the ‘r’. Fair and dairy are different in that the ‘r’ is pronounced in dairy ahead of the long e sound of the y grapheme. Doesn’t that mean that the grapheme for the /air/ phoneme in dairy should be ‘ai’ and not ‘air’? Same with parent, wouldn’t the grapheme be ‘a’ and not ‘ar’? I am not saying I am right, just seeking your thoughts. And yes, dipthongs are tricky and ‘r’ is a semi-vowel.

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Hi Adrian, yes, you’re absolutely right, consonant letters at the end of a vowel grapheme tend to be pronounced if the next sound is a vowel (except the ‘w’ in words like ‘sawing’ and ‘). In the word ‘fair’ in my accent, there are two sounds, written in phonetic script as /fɛə/, because the vowel is a diphthong, but in the word ‘fairy’ there are four sounds, transcribed /ˈfɛəri/, because the consonant /r/ is pronounced to separate the two vowels. I need to go back through all my wordlists and check that they are correct on this, and fix up things like ‘parent’ and ‘canary’. However, this isn’t just something that happens within words, the /r/ in “I don’t care about that” is pronounced because it’s followed by a vowel, but when the word after “care” starts with a consonant (e.g. “I don’t care for that”), there’s no need for an /r/ sound. We’re struggling with this now as we try to code common words for our decodable text writing interface. Even speech pathologists suffer from orthographic interference, it seems. Thanks for raising this and good on you for getting your students to listen to and feel the sounds in their own mouths. All the best, Alison

      Reply

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