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Silent letters

asked 2015-08-02 08:09:05 -0400

A S Sundar gravatar image

What is the purpose of 'silent'letters found in some phonetic languages ?Eg. the last letter 'b' in 'bomb' in English.

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answered 2015-08-05 22:36:28 -0400

wtsano gravatar image

A silent letter doesn't necessarily have a purpose in and of itself.

They are usually leftovers from a time when they would map a phoneme that is no longer realised (pronounced). For example, the spelling 'bomb' reflects its etymology more clearly than 'bom' would; as an added benefit, it helps establishing a better correspondence with related words, as is the case with 'bombard', for instance.

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Asked: 2015-08-02 08:09:05 -0400

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Last updated: Aug 02 '15