For the purpose of understanding the REVLOC system, we can look at each syllable type more closely.
First, let’s define what a syllable is. A syllable must contain a vowel. As in nan ny – two syllables. (In this case, the first syllable is closed and the second is open.)
A syllable can be a stand-alone vowel, but not a stand-alone consonant. As in, a lone (the a is a syllable and a schwa).
I’ve gone through what REVLOC is, but now I want to go through each letter in individual posts. Starting with C.
C stands for closed syllable.
A closed syllable is one that has consonants “closing in” a vowel. This “closing in” causes the vowel to be a short sound. Of course, there are exceptions, but nine times out of 10, you may follow this rule and know that when a vowel is closed in by consonants, the sound of that vowel is short.
One Syllable Words.
These words are labeled with the pattern, CVC – Consonant, Vowel, Consonant
Up (p closing in u still keeps vowel short)
Two Syllable, Closed Words.
In OG, these types of words are called Rabbit Words.
In order to determine our syllables, we would underline the vowels, look at the pattern of consonants and vowels, decided where to break up the word, and pronounce. This simple syllable pattern is also a good time to start practicing accenting, so we can determine where to put the emphasis on our speech.
Examples of Two Syllable Rabbit Words and how to divide.
Rabbit words contain a pattern VCCV or Vowel, Consonant, Consonant, Vowel. Rabbit (underline vowels). When you have two consonants together, especially in a word like this, you will divide between the two consonants.
So Rabbit would be VCCV, two closed syllables – Rab bit.
(A=vowel, B=consonant, B=consonant, I=vowel – all equaling VCCV pattern)
Based on the two closed syllables, someone can know that the word is rabbit. If it were ra bit, without two b’s, the a in the first vowel would be long and the word would be pronounced as such.
Here’s another example,
Napkin nap’ kin
(A=vowel, P=consonant, K=consonant, I=vowel – all equaling VCCV pattern)
Notice: at the point we underline the vowels, we start looking at the pattern. CVVC. Divide between the p and the k and you get two closed syllables. This means we now know to pronounce each syllable as a Closed Syllable and each vowel will be short.
Here are other examples. See if you can notice the CVVC pattern and why each word is divided where it is divided.
Expel Ex pel
Admit Ad mit
Confess Con fess
Compel Com pel
Kitten Kit ten
Witness Wit ness
Using nonsense words, such as Convat (con vat,) is a great way to make sure someone understands the concept rather than just breaking words where they know them to be broken.
Nonsense Examples VCCV:
Hanzad han zad
Rogdit rog dit
Proptem prop tem
One note to keep in mind; when you have an R closing in a vowel, it will be R-controlled because, R “trumps” C in the REVLOC system. Example, Bird isn’t pronounced with a short i because the r is changing its sound.
Once getting the hang of why we are doing this, it is easier to move on to other syllable types and vowel-consonant patterns of where to divide words. Pretty soon, someone can divide up three syllable words and four syllable words and have a reason for pronouncing each vowel or consonant a certain way because there are rules to follow. English makes more sense knowing that rules can be followed for pronunciation and spelling!