gh as in ghost

Afghan

aghast

baba ghanoush

dinghy

Genghis

Ghana

ghastly

ghee

gherkin

ghetto

ghost

ghoul

sorghum

spaghetti

yoghurt

6 thoughts on “gh as in ghost

    1. alison Post author

      Sorry, I don’t understand. “diagnosis” and “derogatory” don’t contain ‘gh’ as in ‘ghost’. If you want to find words with a particular letter sequence, try the morewords website, which is for people doing word puzzles and is focussed on letter sequences but not the sounds they represent.

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  1. Teresa

    Hello Alison
    Your spelling lists are an invaluable resource – I’m writing phonics readers and I draw on your lists of words all the time. Thank you. Just wondering about gh – would it be useful to treat it as a silent grapheme in the augh, ough and eigh words (excluding words where it sounds like f)?

    Teresa

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    1. alison Post author

      Hi Teresa, thanks for the nice feedback about my lists, I’m so glad you find them useful, and that you’re writing decodables, please let me know when they’re done.

      I don’t really like to use the term “silent” letter or grapheme because all graphemes are there for a reason, and it doesn’t really help kids learn to spell these words. It gives some kids the idea that there are random surplus letters scattered everywhere and you never know which ones to say and which ones are silent. I’d rather tell them all letters are part of graphemes that represent sounds, and that these are just four-letter spellings that have the same two final letters. I do sometimes tell older kids that the gh in caught, brought, drought, through, thorough, eight and straight was pronounced as a voiced glottal fricative in Old English and in some words it was fronted to “f” as in cough and laugh, but in other words stopped being pronounced. But I’m yet to see evidence that knowing that etymology helps kids much with spelling. For spelling purposes the phoneme-grapheme correspondences and morphemes are what matter, so straight and eight go together with “ay” spellings, brought and caught go with “or” spellings, drought goes with “ou/ow” and through goes with “oo” as in moon. You can put the word thorough with bough or through or with “oh” as in go, depending how you like to over-pronounce its final schwa. Spelling needs to start with sounds and work towards print, and it’s really important not to work backwards, as kids with weak PA are inclined to get overly focussed on the look of words, because the letters are the easy part for most kids. The thing they find hard is the sounds, which are transient and invisible, so the sounds (saying them, feeling them in their mouths etc) should be the starting point/organising principle for teaching graphemes. At least that’s my take on it, based on a lot of reading the reading research. All the best, Alison

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