Nonsense words – why everyone needs them

I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum this weekend. As I travelled on the underground, I saw lots of signs, many of which had really strange words. I needed to use my decoding to break down these words, as I had never seen them before.

When breaking down a multi-syllabic word, one often reads syllables that have no meaning. Look at the word ‘Piccadilly’. Now, I can read that word, but a child reading it for the first time would have to go: Picc-a-dill-y and then put the syllables together: ‘Piccadilly’.
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The syllables on their own have no meaning. Only when they are assembled, do they make up a word (in this case it is a name), do they make sense.

Here are some examples of names that I had to decode by sounding out non-word syllables:photo
N-o-f-x, Al-ka-line, Lag-wag-on

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Mum-ford, Met-all-i-ca

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Ken-drick, Lam-ar

Nonsense syllables are all around us. This is why it is really useful for everyone to able to decode any word or syllable. If we use this skill to read new words ourselves, why not teach it to our children?


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