How do you form words from individual letters?


Quick Answer

Form words from individual letters by arranging the latter until they spell out the former. Look for patterns, such as how certain groups of letters often go together. Some patterns include prefixes such as "counter-," "intra-" and "peri-," as well as suffixes such as "-ation," "-ed" and "-ful." Additionally, patterns emerge from English language rules that prescribe specific consonants that are followed by certain vowels.

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Full Answer

Generally, children learn to read by first learning the orthography of individual letters. They are then taught to associate a specific letter with a particular sound, called a phoneme in linguistics. The phonemes and letters are combined to form a complete word that denotes a particular part of speech. For example, teaching the word "cat" requires that the letters of the word, each with a distinct phoneme, are articulated to create the word in writing or speech. Often, the word is linked to a graphic illustration to complete the connection. In the above example, then, a picture of a cat is included with a written label.

This "sound-it-out" methodology of primary language acquisition allows a reader or writer of the language to transition from seeing words as individual collections of letters to seeing them as a unit, according to a March 2015 Medical Daily article. It describes a study conducted where adults learned a group of nonsense words. The brains of the subjects were scanned prior, during and after mastery of the words, and researchers noted a "visual word form area" in the brain that changed throughout the experiment.

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