1001 Questions and Answers on Orthography and Reading

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1. What is Orthography?

The science and art of the Letters of a language.

2. Of what does Orthography treat?

The nature and power of letters, and correct spelling.

3. From what is the word Orthography derived?

Two Greek words, signifying "To write right."

4. What is a Letter?

A character used to represent an elementary sound, or combination of sounds.

5. What is an Alphabet of a Language?

A complete list of its letters.

6. What is the origin of the word Alphabet?

It is derived from the first two letters of the Greek Alphabet: Alpha and Beta.

7. Where did the Alphabet originate?

The English comes from the Greek, which was brought by Cadmus from Phoenicia, about the year 1490 B.C.

8. What was the first Alphabet ever used?

The Hebrew.

How many letters were in the original Alphabet?


10. Where did the other letters originate?

They have been added since the time of Cadmus, as their use became necessary.

11. What was the last letter added to the English Alphabet?


12. Why was it called W?

On account of it being composed of two u's, or a double u.

13. How many letters in the English Alphabet?


[pg 6]

14. How many in the Latin Alphabet?


15. What is the difference between the Latin Alphabet and the English?

The Latin omits the letter W.

16. What Alphabet has the greatest number of letters?

The Chinese.

17. How many letters in the Chinese Alphabet?

Over two hundred.

18. What is a Perfect Alphabet?

One which contains the same number of letters that it has elementary sounds.

19. Is the English a perfect Alphabet?

It is not.

20. How many Elementary sounds in the English Language?

About forty-three.

21. What is an Imperfect Alphabet?

One in which the number of sounds exceeds the number of letters.

22. What is an Equivocal Alphabet?

An Imperfect one.

23. What is an Unequivocal Alphabet?

Same as Perfect.

24. Is the English Alphabet Equivocal or Unequivocal?


25. What is a Univocal Alphabet?

One that has a separate character for each elementary sound.

26. What is an Alphabetic Language?

A language in which the characters represent separate articulate sounds.

27. What is a Phonetic Alphabet?

One in which there is a separate character for each elementary sound.

[pg 7]

28. Is there any Phonetic Alphabet of the English Language?

There have been several published, but they are not in general use.

29. How many letters in the English Phonetic Alphabet?


30. What is the name of a Letter?

The appellation by which it is known.

31. What is the difference between a Letter and its Name?

The letter is the character, and the name is its appellation.

32. What Letters name themselves?

The vowels A, E, I, O, and U.

33. How are the Letters divided?

Into Vowels and Consonants.

34. What are Vowels?

Those letters which represent only pure tones.

35. Name all the Vowels.

A, E, I, O, U, and in some situations W and Y.

36. What is a Consonant?

A letter that represents an interruption of sound or breath.

37. Why called Consonants?

Because they cannot be used alone in a word, but must be connected with a Vowel.

38. How many kinds of Consonants are there?

Two; single Letters and Combinations.

39. Name the Consonant letters.

B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, and Z.

40. Name the Consonant Combinations.

Th, Sh, Ch, Zh, Wh, and Ng.

41. Name the two Orders of the Consonants.

Mutes and Semi-vowels.

42. What are Mutes?

Those letters which admit of no escape of breath while the organs of speech are in contact.

[pg 8]

43. Name the Mutes.

B, D, K, P, T, and C and G hard.

44. What other term is often applied to the Mutes?

Close Consonant.

45. What are Semi-vowels?

Those letters that admit of an escape of breath while the organs of speech are in contact.

46. Name the Semi-vowels.

F, H, J, L, M, N, R, S, V, W, X, Y, Z, and C and G soft.

47. Are the Combinations Mutes or Semi-vowels?

They are all Semi-vowels.

48. What letters are called Nasals?

M, N, and Ng.

49. What other term is often applied to the Semi-vowels?

Loose Consonant.

50. What letters are called Liquids?

L, M, N, and R.

51. Why are the Liquids so called?

Because of their flowing sound, which readily unites with the sound of other letters.

52. What are Sibilants?

Letters which have a hissing sound; as, S and Z.

53. What letter is called the Mute Sibilant?

The letter X.

54. What letters represent no sound of their own?

C, Q, and X.

55. What are these letters called?

Redundant letters.

56. Why are they so named?

Because they are not necessary for the completion of the Alphabet.

57. By what letters are the sounds of C represented?

K and S.

[pg 9]

58. What letters represent the sound of Q?


59. What letters represent the sound X?


60. What letters of themselves form words?

A, I, and O.

61. Spell all of the Consonants.

Bee, Cee, Dee, Eff, Gee, Aitch, Jay, Kay, Ell, Em, En, Pee, Kw, Ar, Ess, Tee, Vee, Double-u, Ex, Wy, and Zee.—Goold Brown.

62. What letters are called the Twins?

Q and U.

63. Why so called?

Because Q is always followed by U in English spelling.

64. Is there any exception to this rule?

The word LEECLERCQ is sometimes given as an example, but in English it is spelled LEECLERC.

65. What is meant by style of letters?

Different type; as, Roman, Script, Italics, etc.

66. How many forms have letters?


67. What are they?

Small letters and Capitals.

68. What are the Natural Divisions of Consonants?

Subvocals and Aspirates.

69. What are Subvocals?

Those Consonants which produce an undertone of voice when their sounds are uttered.

70. Name the Subvocals.

B, D, G hard; J and G soft; L, M, N, R, V, W, Y, Z, Zh, and Ng.

71. What are Aspirates?

Mere whispers made by the organs of speech and breath.

[pg 10]

72. Name the Aspirates.

C, F, H, K, P, Q, S, T, X, Ch, Sh, and Wh.

73. What Combination is both Aspirate and Subvocal?


74. What are Cognate letters?

Those which are produced by the same organs of speech in a similar position.

75. Give an example of a Cognate letter.

D is a cognate of T.

76. What are Quiescent letters?

Those that are silent.

77. How many uses have Silent letters?


78. What are they?

To modify vowels; to modify consonants; to determine signification; to determine origin; and to distinguish words of like signification.

79. What are Explodents?

Those letters whose sound cannot be prolonged.

80. Name the Explodents.

B, D, G, J, P, Q, T, and K.

81. What are the principle organs of speech?

Lips, teeth, tongue, and palate.

82. What is meant by Organical division of the consonants?

Pertaining to those particular organs used in their pronunciation.

83. Name the Organical divisions.

Labials, Dentals, Linguals, and Palatals.

84. What are Labials?

Those letters whose sounds are modified by the lips.

85. Name them.

B, F, M, P, V, W, and Wh.

86. What are Dentals?

Those letters whose sounds are modified by the teeth.

[pg 11]

87. Name them.

J, S, Z, Ch, Sh, Zh, C and G soft.

88. What are Linguals?

Those letters whose sounds are modified by the tongue.

89. Name them.

D, L, N, R, T, Y, and Th.

90. What are Palatals?

Those letters whose sounds are modified by the palate.

91. Name them.

K, Q, X, Ng, C and G hard.

92. What letters have no Organical classification?

H, and all the vowels.

93. What is an Aphthong?

A silent letter or combination.

94. How many kinds of Aphthongs?


95. What are they?

Vowels, Consonants, and Combinations.

96. What letters are never silent?

F, J, Q, R, and X.

97. In what words is V silent?

Sevennight and twelvemonth.

98. In what word is Z silent?


99. What letters are never doubled?

X and H.

100. How many words contain all the vowels in regular order?


101. What are they?

Abstemious and Facetious.

102. What is a Diphthong?

Two vowels sounded together in the same syllable.

103. Name the Diphthongs.

Ou, Ow, Oi, and Oy.

[pg 12]

104. How many sounds do they represent?


105. What are the sounds called?

Diphthongal sounds.

106. How many kinds of Diphthongs are there?


107. What are they?

Separable and Inseparable.

108. Which ones are Separable?

Oi and Oy.

109. What is an Improper Diphthong?

The union of two vowels in a syllable, one of which is silent.

110. By what other name are they known?


111. How many Digraphs are there?


112. Name them.

Aa, Ae, Ai, Ao, Au, Aw, Ay, Ea, Ee, Ei, Eo, Eu, Ew, Ey, Ie, Oa, Oe, Oi, Oo, Ou, Ow, Ua, Ue, Ui, and Uy.

113. What is a Trigraph?

A union of three vowels in one syllable, two of which are silent, or all three representing one sound.

114. How many Trigraphs are there?


115. Name them.

Awe, Aye, Eau, Eou, Eye, Ieu, Iew, and Uoi.

116. What is a Tetragraph?

Union of four vowels in one syllable.

117. How many Tetragraphs are there?


118. What is it?

Ueue in the word Queue.

[pg 13]

119. May the terms Digraph, etc., be used with the Consonants?

They may.

120. Give example of Consonant Digraph.

Gh, in the word laugh.

121. Give example of Consonant Trigraph.

Thr, in the word throw.

122. Give example of Consonant Tetragraph.

Phth, in the word phthisic.

123. What is a regular Triphthong?

A vowel trigraph in which all three of the vowels are sounded.

124. Give an example.


Professional & Technical
January 27
Rectory Print
Babafemi Titilayo Olowe

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