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Phonemes & Graphemes in the English Language

He found there was a high degree of variability in their reliability. Piper (1983a) selected for further study 19 of the 45 generalizations involving vowels. She concluded that, since ESL students want to learn phonics and the phonics rules available are fairly unreliable, she would examine the generalizations to see which worked and which should be "reformulated to improve their utility".

Bouton (1976, p. 154) stressed that writing is not a simple transposition of the spoken expression to the graphic expression. Weigl (1970) considered that the structural rules of the written language have no direct relationships with the features of the spoken language. Their acquisition is really independent and is in no way facilitated by that of the spoken language which preceded it in communicative evolution. Nevertheless, adds Weigl, it would be impossible to learn the written language by learning only the letters and their combinations. Bouton (1976, p. 154) noted, however, that the discovery of language among deaf-mute-blind people, such as Helen Keller, renders this latter position rather difficult of generalization.

Teaching the sound system to ESL students

Piper (1983b), in her selective research study deriving from Clymer's, adjusted the nineteen vowel generalizations to take into account morphology and word order. She concluded by offering six implications for ESL teachers, viz.:

1. Teach the rules as applying only to root words before suffixation or compoun


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