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Why does "L" say "uhl"??

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Is this even the right forum? In my son's K class, they learn that "L" says "uhl." Really? Luh-luh-luh-lightbulb, luh-luh-luh-luh lemon (okay, channeling Bare Naked Ladies, sorry). I'm just curious if anyone can explain this to me. I keep meaning to ask his teacher and forgetting.
thanks,
-e
post #2 of 18
I remember being puzzled by that when I was training to be a reading tutor a long time ago...
Because with "uhl," you can elongate the sound and blend it right into the rest of the word. So sounding out an easy l word like "lap," it would be "uhlllllllllaaaaapuh," as opposed to "luhaaaapuh." You can see how the first pronunciation would more obviously sound like the word "lap" than the second. Some sounds, like with c or b, you can't elongate, so beginning readers will sometimes do the whole "buh aaa tuh! buh aaa tuh! buh aaa tuh!" and they can't figure out what the word is. Think about how much easier it is to sound out "mat" or "lat," since the m and l can be elongated. So if you have the opportunity to elongate a sound, take it! It's one less obstacle in the road to reading.
post #3 of 18
I have the same issue with errrr... errrrr.... errrred? errrrrabit? errrrroll?
post #4 of 18
The letters "l" and "r" are sonorants, linguistically, in English. They're not like "s" where you can say "sssssss" (sibilant) or "f" where you can say "fffffffffffff" (fricative). It's probably just the way the teacher is able to get the kids to know what their letters "say". It doesn't matter whether they learn "ul" or "luh".
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
The letters "l" and "r" are sonorants, linguistically, in English. They're not like "s" where you can say "sssssss" (sibilant) or "f" where you can say "fffffffffffff" (fricative). It's probably just the way the teacher is able to get the kids to know what their letters "say". It doesn't matter whether they learn "ul" or "luh".
I don't really know what "sonorant" means but you absolutely can elongate "l" and "r" in the same way that you can elongate "s" or "f." Elongating means that you can blend the sound into the next sound easily (again, unlike buh aaa tuh). Elongating really helps emergent readers develop the ability to go from sounding out the word to saying the word. Consequently, "uhl" is right and "luh" is wrong.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
I don't really know what "sonorant" means but you absolutely can elongate "l" and "r" in the same way that you can elongate "s" or "f." Elongating means that you can blend the sound into the next sound easily (again, unlike buh aaa tuh). Elongating really helps emergent readers develop the ability to go from sounding out the word to saying the word. Consequently, "uhl" is right and "luh" is wrong.
But "uhllllllllllll" is right and "luuuuuuuh" is not. You can't elongate "l" and "r" the same way you can "s" or "f". They don't require a vowel to make the sound. You can say "essss" or you can just say "ssssssss". Elongating sounds for emergent readers, that *can* be elongated, are helpful, but elongating them incorrectly doesn't. "B" and "T" are plosives. You can't extend their sounds. "A" is a vowel, so not in the same category, but of course can be elongated.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
But "uhllllllllllll" is right and "luuuuuuuh" is not. You can't elongate "l" and "r" the same way you can "s" or "f". They don't require a vowel to make the sound. You can say "essss" or you can just say "ssssssss". Elongating sounds for emergent readers, that *can* be elongated, are helpful, but elongating them incorrectly doesn't. "B" and "T" are plosives. You can't extend their sounds. "A" is a vowel, so not in the same category, but of course can be elongated.
Even though "uhl" means adding a vowel sound at the beginning, "uhlllll aa mmm puh," sounds a lot more like "lamp" than "luh aaaa mmmm puh." Even when "l" is at the end of the word, "uhl" sounds better. "puh aaa uhl" as opposed to "puh aaa luh." So it does matter, although I'm sure tons of children learn to read using "luh."
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
Even though "uhl" means adding a vowel sound at the beginning, "uhlllll aa mmm puh," sounds a lot more like "lamp" than "luh aaaa mmmm puh." Even when "l" is at the end of the word, "uhl" sounds better. "puh aaa uhl" as opposed to "puh aaa luh." So it does matter, although I'm sure tons of children learn to read using "luh."
I'm approaching this from a linguistic perspective (my undergrad degree), so whatever works for a kid is the best method. I was trying to answer the OP's question.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the interesting replies! In DS's kindy class, "uhl" is the only correct answer for "what does L say?" It's the only letter he missed on his assessment, because he said, "luh."

Just a note -- I'm NOT concerned that he "missed" a letter and neither is the teacher. But it's the only letter sound that doesn't come naturally to me, so I was wondering what the thinking there was.
thanks,
-e
post #10 of 18
Push your tongue against the top part of the mouth, right behind the teeth. Say "llllllllll"

The idea that there should be an "uh" sound at the end is wrong. We don't say, "I lu-ik-uh tuoo puluayu bualluh." (Unless you're here in Taiwan, where they're not taught to not use the vowel sound at the end).

Picture of it:
http://edge.mediacet.netdna-cdn.com/es/images/l.png

I've found the 2 biggest obstacles to teaching children to spell and, eventually, to read is that they:

1) Are taught the letter sounds first.
2) Are not taught to isolate the sounds and/or add additional sounds.

Matt
post #11 of 18
Both uhl and luh have too much vowel sound to them.

When we get to that point I'm going to have dd say words like "giggle" and practice drawing out the final uhl sound so she can get the "lllll" sound like Matt describes.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
Push your tongue against the top part of the mouth, right behind the teeth. Say "llllllllll"

The idea that there should be an "uh" sound at the end is wrong.


I teach my kids to isolate JUST the sound the letter makes, because otherwise they end up inserting unnecessary vowels into their writing (luampu for lamp, or buedu for bed). As mentioned above, it also makes reading words difficult because the extra vowels obscure how the word sounds (buh-e-duh doesn't sound like bed). Hope that helps!
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post

1) Are taught the letter sounds first.
2) Are not taught to isolate the sounds and/or add additional sounds.

Matt
I don't understand what you're saying. Are you saying that the children have problems reading/spelling because they already know letter sounds but were taught the wrong sounds? Otherwise, why would it be bad to have learned the correct letter sounds before learning to read/spell?
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
I don't understand what you're saying. Are you saying that the children have problems reading/spelling because they already know letter sounds but were taught the wrong sounds? Otherwise, why would it be bad to have learned the correct letter sounds before learning to read/spell?
I'm not sure about #1, but for #2 I think the previous poster meant that if students are taught to add sounds (like vowel sounds - ie luh instead of lllll) then it's hard to unlearn that.
post #15 of 18
we homeschool, and every curricula we have used to teach phonics says "L" is "uhl" and same with "R"...errrr. the teacher is being specific about letter sounds imho because she is teaching phonics with a program that is very specific. plus, "luh" and "ruh" do not make those sounds when new readers encounter them in the middle of a word, ykwim? but, it will say "uhl" and "errr". as they get into advanced reading, phonics will change - but in the very beginning, the phonics sounds with consonants are consistent in the word, regardless of where the letter is placed. hope that helps
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
Push your tongue against the top part of the mouth, right behind the teeth. Say "llllllllll"

The idea that there should be an "uh" sound at the end is wrong. We don't say, "I lu-ik-uh tuoo puluayu bualluh." (Unless you're here in Taiwan, where they're not taught to not use the vowel sound at the end).

Picture of it:
http://edge.mediacet.netdna-cdn.com/es/images/l.png

I've found the 2 biggest obstacles to teaching children to spell and, eventually, to read is that they:

1) Are taught the letter sounds first.

2) Are not taught to isolate the sounds and/or add additional sounds.

Matt
I'm interested in what you have to say about the bolded. At the risk of sounding stalker-ish, I "follow" what you say on the Montessori board, and you seem to really know your stuff. DS is learning his letter sounds now - mostly on his own - and I'm curious how this is going to affect how quickly and easily he learns to read. He wants to read already, and always asks "What's that say?"
post #17 of 18
I just asked Dd (5 ) what the letter L says and she just stuck her tongue behind her front teeth and said LLL There was no vowel, but to write it I think Uhl seems to sound the closest rather than Luh.
I was taught to read very quickly at age four, we didn't know our letters at all, we learned the alphabet by the letter sounds not the name and were all reading in no time. So we said in rote form, ah buh cu du eh etc etc. Then we connected the sound to the visual letter. and could read, the name of the letter came later and we could spell and read really well.
I think learning letter names first confuses kids, that darn alphabet song is a pain I didn't learn that till I was about 10. I tried to teach Dd sounds first, but she seemed to get both at the same time and is reading alone and writing me stories now and starts K in July.
post #18 of 18
I thought about teaching my kids only letter sounds instead of letter names, but I decided against it because I knew there would be all sorts of people talking to them and mentioning letter names. I think it would be more confusing to hear different authority figures labeling letters differently than just learn two ways of identifying each sound (that everyone agrees on). That's only 52 items in all and even toddlers know thousands of words. Both my kids picked up letters and sounds almost effortlessly at young ages.
Sorry, OT, just in relation to the last post, too lazy to do the quoting thing, too lazy to type in complete grammatical sentences anymore too.
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