Accenting is something that can be taught early in Orton Gillingham, but the advanced rules are for advanced decoding and fall much later in the OG scope and sequence.
Accenting is to aid in pronouncing words correctly – that’s the goal.
If a student looks a word up in a dictionary (online these days) and sees an accent mark, they will know how to use that accent mark to pronounce the word.
These first, simple accenting exercises are to introduce accenting.
Say it both ways.
The best way to teach early accenting is to have the student say the word both ways and decide what makes the most sense.
- Say, ba’ by and now way ba by’ (ba’by)
- Say, tu’ lip and now say tu lip’ (tu’lip)
Call the Dog.
For fun, a student can also “call the dog” as a way to see where the accent goes. You say a word like you are calling a dog, like you are yelling it, the longer syllable is usually the accented one. For example, if I were calling my dog I might say, caaammm, el – the cam is the accented syllable. Or, Naap kin. Accent is on nap’ kin.
- Say, gra vy (like you are calling the dog) (gra’vy)
It usually falls on the root.
- Boyish (boy’ish)
- Lately (late’ly)
Advanced Accenting Rules
Later, we get into Accenting Rules – seven rules that can be applied to help a student break down a word and be able to pronounce words that can be long and seem difficult.
Look for a clear sound.
The “overall rule” to accenting is this: listen for a clear vowel sound – a clear short vowel or a clear long vowel sound in one of the syllables. That clear sounding syllable is usually going to be the accented syllable.
For example: napkin
You hear the short a clearer than you hear the i in “kin” (the “kin” could almost be a schwa, but it’s not).
Rule I – the root
Rule I: Accent usually on the root, not the prefix or the suffix. If the root has two syllables, accent is usually on the first syllable.
elf’ ish dis con nect’ mus’ tang
- Homeless (home’less)
- Unfairness (unfair’ness)
- Incorrect (in cor rect’) – (cor is in family prefix com/co, meaning together) (rect is a root meaning straight or to rule)
Rule II – syllable before these endings
Rule II: Accent falls on syllable BEFORE these endings. -ity , -ic, -ical, -ci, -si, -ti, -xi
- (i cal is a two-syllable suffix)
- -ity (ac tiv’ i ty)
- ic (pa thet’ ic)
- ical (pract’ i cal)
- ci (mu si’ cian)
- -si (con fu’ sion)
- ti (au di’ tion)
- xi (com ple’ xion)
- Numerical (numer’ical)
- Angelic (angel’ic)
- Artificial (artifi’cial)
Rule III – count back three
Rule III: In words with 3 or more syllables ending in silent e, count back 3 vowel sounds and accent (usually). dif’ fer ence sep’ ar ate
Words ending in consonant + le, count the le as a vowel sound. ob’ sta cle mir’ a cle
- Delicate (del’icate)
- Attitude (at’titude)
- Spectacle (spec’tacle)
Rule IV – before these Latin Connectives
Rule IV: Accent falls on the syllable BEFORE these Latin Connectives: -i-, -u-, -u l
(BUT NOT -i tion)
- -i- ex ter’ i or
- -u- stren’ u ous
- u l turb’ u lent
- Genuine (gen’u ine
- Editorial (ed i tor’i al)
- Stimulant (stim’u lant)
Rule V – verb=root, noun=prefix
Rule V: When a word can be used as a verb or a noun, the verb will accent the ROOT and the noun will accent the PREFIX.
- con tract’ (v) ob ject’ (v)
- con’ tract (n) ob’ ject (n)
- Decrease (noun) (de’crease)
- Decrease (verb) (decrease’)
- Implant (noun) (im’plant)
- Implant (verb) (implant’)
Rule VI – -oon/-eer accent
Rule VI: Accent will be on these suffixes: -oon and -eer
- car toon’ ty phoon’
- pri va teer’ pi o neer’
- Balloon (balloon’)
- Volunteer (volunteer’)
Rule VII – -ia ending accent
Rule VII: Accent will be on syllable coming BEFORE -ia (i a) ending.
- Al ba’ ni a
- sub ur’ bi a
- pho’ bi a
- Petunia (petu’nia)
- Polynesia (Polyne’sia)
More About Accenting
Accents can also be on a R-controlled syllable.
To show the difference in how accents affect syllables, use non-sense words and have students pronounce the word with the accent in different locations. For example: stro’ mag dum, stro mag’ dum, stro mag dum’
Schwa syllables are not accented.
With two syllable words, the accent is usually on the first syllable (try it on the first syllable first).
Want more explanation and worksheets on Accenting Rules? Check out Scope and Sequence Book 2 for Beginning Accenting and Scope & Sequence Book 4 for Advanced Accenting. It’s all in the Workbook Store.