A Guide to the English Alphabet and Letters

The first step to learn English is to learn the letters and pronunciation of the English alphabet. Because the core knowledge you will use when reading, speaking, listening and writing a language comes from the alphabet. Therefore, learning English is through learning the spelling and pronunciation of English letters.

Firstly, there are 26 letters in the English alphabet which are adapted from the Latin alphabet we use in Turkish. 21 of them are consonant and 5 are vowels. The letters A, E, I, O, U are vowels, the rest are the consonants. In addition to vowels and consonants, the letters Y and Q are called semivowels.

The letters Ç, Ğ, Ö, Ş, Ü which we use in Turkish do not exist in the English alphabet. Unlike in Turkish, there are 3 letters in English. Those letters are Q, W, and X. Additionally, the use of upper case and lower case letters in the English alphabet are not exactly the same as the Turkish alphabet.

Example: Lower case letters i and q are written as I and Q in upper case form. The remaining letters’ upper case forms are written in the same manner as in Turkish. It is important to emphasise that there is no ı in lower case letters in the English alphabet, only i. There is no upper case İ in English. Capitalized form of i is I.

The letters in English are not pronounced in the same way in the way we write and pronounce them in Turkish. English letters differ from word to word in pronunciation. Therefore, the spelling and pronunciation of all letters in English are different. These letters generate 44 different types of sounds. The fact of existing more type of sound than the number of letters in the alphabet shows us some letters have different forms of pronunciation.

Example: The letter c in the word car is pronounced as k (kar), while the letter c in cinema is pronounced as s (sinema).

Spelling and Pronunciation Table of the English Alphabet

Upper Case Lower Case Pronunciation in Turkish Upper Case Lower Case Pronunciation in Turkish
A a ey N n en
B b bi O o o
C c si P p pi
D d di Q q ku
E e i R r ar
F f ef S s es
G g ci T t ti
H h eyç U u yu
I i ay V v vi
J j cey W w dabılyu
K k key X x eks
L l el Y y vay

 

M m                                  em Z z zed

Example: While spelling the word pencil (pensıl); we say P (pi) – E (i) – N (en) – C (si) – I (ay) – L (el).The English alphabet is used in the above while spelling the letters

General Pronunciation Rules of English Letters

As we mentioned earlier, some letters in the English alphabet have multiple sound types. Only; D, F, K, L, M, N, P, Z are pronounced in the same way as in Turkish. The rest of the letters form different sounds according to other adjacent letters in the same word. If we generalize pronunciation of the adjacent letters:

In English, the adjacent letters CH are pronounced as “ç”, SH as “ş”, GH as “g” and PH as “f”. Example: Chair (çeyır), Shame (şeym), Ghost (gost), Physic (fizik)

TION added to the end of English words is pronounced as “şın”.  Example: Competition (kompetişın)

Some English words have unpronounced letters at the beginning of the word. Example: Knowledge (bilgi) “novlıc”, Know (bilmek) “nov”, Hour (saat) “auvır”, Write (rayt) “rayd”

If the letter S is between two vowels, it is pronounced with the sound “z”. Example: Result (sonuç) “rizolt”, Noise (ses) “noyz

SCH letters when they are next to each other in English are pronounced as “sk”. Example: Schedule (plan) “skecul”, Scheme (şema) “skim”

While considering these rules for pronunciation of English words, please note that English is not a language that pronounced in the same way as it is written and some words are not subjected to the same pronunciation rules.

As an example of the pronunciation of letters in English words, see the table below:

A

All (oll)

Age (eyc)

Another (enathır)

B

Bird (börd)

Baby (beybi)

Banana (bınana)

O

Office (ofis)

One (van)

Open (opın)

C

Cinema (sinema)

Character (keriktır)

Chair (çeyır)

P

Paint (peint)

Party (pardi)

People (pipıl)

D

Doctor (daktır)

Door (door)

Dress (dres)

Q

Quiet (kuayıt)

Question (kuesçın)

Quick (kuik)

E

Empty (empti)

Evening (ivining)

Eat (iit)

R

Radio (redio)

Really (rilli)

Rich (riç)

F

Father (fadır)

Fish (fiş)

Flower (flavır)

S

Sharp (şarp)

Same (seym)

Sea (sie)

G

Gun (gan)

Game (geym)

Gym (ciym)

T

Table (teybıl)

Teacher (tiiçır)

There (der)

H

Hour (auvır) “h” is not pronounced.

Hall (hol)

House (hauz)

U

Uncle (ankıl)

Use (yuuse)

Usually (yuujuli)

I

I (ay)

Interesting (intıresting)

Ice (ays)

V

Very (veri)

Visit (vizit)

Voice (voys)

J

January (cenuary)

Job (cab)

Junk (cank)

W

Wrong (rong) “w” is not pronounced.

Wait (vait)

Weather (veder

K

Key (kiy)

Know (nov) “k” is not pronounced.

Kill (kil)

X

X-ray (eks-rey)

Xerox (ziroks)

Xenon (zenon)

L

Lamp (lemp)

Lady (leydi)

Left (left)

Y

Yellow (yellov)

Year (yiır)

You (yu)

M

Money (mani)

March (març)

Meet (mit)

Z

Zebra (zibra)

Zombie (zombi)

Zoo (zuu)

Recommendations for Learning Pronunciation of English Words

First of all, you can listen to English alphabet songs to learn and strengthen your knowledge of the English alphabet. You can also memorise simple words and letters by watching English cartoons. Listening English nursery rhymes and watching cartoons will help you to learn the English alphabet with pleasure and understand simple words clearly. Memorising pronunciation of English words often, cultural activities such as watching TV series, movies and also participating in events enables you to practise speaking in English.

Take the first step towards learning English by learning the basics of English alphabets and letters. Register now for English Ninjas to test these unique practice opportunities and keep improving yourself!

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