Alvars can be found around Canada’s National Capital Region.
Some letter combinations
─ae— is found in words derived from Latin and may have different pronunciations, depending on regional dialects.
Aesop (an ee sound)
palaeontology (ee or A sound)
aerial (ai sound)
aesthetic (soft e sound)
─ar ─ The letter R may change the pronunciation (this is called an R-controlled vowel).
arch, arbour, archangel, argon, argument, ark, arm, art
Exceptions: Arab, arid, arise, array, arrest, arrive
─au─ The au letter combination is not pronounced the same way each time. A diphthong is a way to slide a sound. Try these out.
auburn, auction, audio, August, aura, Australia, auto, automatic, autumn, because, caught, cause, clause, daughter, faucet, fault, Paul, sauce, taught, taut, vault
In some ─au─ words, this letter combination is not pronounced as a diphthong.
aunt, beautiful, quay (pronounced key)
The aw and ay combinations are also diphthongs. Try these words.
caw, claw, crawl, dawn, draw, flaw, gnaw, hawk, jaw, law, lawn, macaw, paw, pawn, raw, slaw, straw, thaw, Warsaw, yawn
ay, aye (yes), ayah (Hindu nurse)
─air─ is a common combination in many words. Are these diphthongs?
chair, fair, hair, lair, pair, stair
Exception: naïve [French]
─all─ is a common combination in many words.
all, allow, ball, fall, hall, small, wall
─alt─ is a common combination in many words.
alternate, cobalt, halt, malt, salt
─alk─ is a common combination in many words.
alkaline, chalk, stalk, talk, walk
- Read through the lists of words. Can you think of any more to add in each category?
- Play with the words a little. Act them out. Write them up in the air using your left hand and your right. Write them down on paper.
- Listen to your friends. Do they pronounce the letter a differently? Which words do they pronounce and how? What do you prefer?
Special reading assignment
An alvar is a limestone plain with little or no soil and unique vegetation.