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Hello. Today, I'm going to teach you about one sound that maybe you know already; maybe
it's new; maybe it's very confusing because English can be confusing when you are trying
to say words. So the sound that I'm going to teach you today is the PH sound. So you
may look at a word in English -- for example, this word [makes elephant sound] elep-p-f-ant.
And someone goes, "What's an 'elep-p-f-ant'?" "It's an elephant." "What? Elephant? There's
no F. What are you talking about? It's an elep-p-f-ant', for sure." No. It's an elephant.
This letter combination of the P and the H, it actually comes from the Greek language,
and it was originally, in Greek, PHI." I can't write Greek, but it might look like that.
I can write Greek, all of a sudden. And then, it went down to the Latin languages where
they used it -- where they took off the I. And then it filtered down into French, Spanish,
and finally, our wonderful world of stolen languages known as English.
So what we have done is we've taken it from the Greek, from the Latin, from the French,
and somehow, magically, it's become an F. The history of the PH by Ronnie. Good. So
anytime in English you have the P and the H together in a word, it's going to sound
like an F, okay? So this word is "elephant, elephant." Do you have a pet elephant? I don't.
I'd like to. I could ride it to school. It would be great. I had the opportunity to ride
on an elephant when I was in Thailand, but I turned that opportunity down. I don't know
why. I just couldn't be bothered to ride an elephant.
The next word is a very important word when you're studying English. It's the alphabet.
"Alphabet". The alphabet is also known as the ABCs in English. A-b-c-d-e-f-g. PH, F,
good. This is "alphabet".
The next one is "phony". This may be a new word for you. But "phony" means "fake". Now,
sometimes, people will steal something from other people and pass it off as their own.
And these people are called "phonies". You know who you are out there. A "phony" means
a fake person, not a really, genuine person or product. We have a lot of phony brand handbags,
like, "Louis Vutton". You can have a fake or a phony watch. It's a real watch. It's
just not made by the brand. Kind of like EngVid. Are you watching the real thing? You are?
The next word is "phone". The long word of this is "telephone". But we never, ever take
the time to say "telephone". It's too long. So we just call it a "phone".
A wonderful name, "Philip". It looks like PH. It looks like "Pilip", but it's actually
"Philip". Some people actually write their name like this is a short form of "Phil".
My father's fame was Philip. But he would always write his name "Fil". And I asked him,
"Daddy, why if your name is Philip do you spell it with an F -- a PH, not an F? I'm
so confused." The reason was he said that when he was a child, his mother would sew
his initial P into everything that he owned so he wouldn't lose them. So for example,
in his underwear, he would have P. So he said that he didn't like having P in his underwear.
Yeah, no, yeah, no, no, good.
Next one we have is "autograph". Sometimes the PH is at the end of the sentence. Again,
it's an F. So you say "autograph". Do you know what an "autograph" is? A lot of people
mix the word "autograph" and "signature" up. I can't even spell the word now let alone
teach you how to do it. So "signature" has the word "sign" in it. A "signature" is what
you and I do when we have to sign something at the bank or if you have to sign something
for a document. An "autograph", it is a signature, but it's different because we use this as
a famous person's signature. So for example, if you met a really famous person -- "Oh,
yeah! It's a famous person!" -- you would ask them for their autograph. If I met a famous
person, I wouldn't care, and I'd be like, "Whatever." Okay? But autograph is for famous
people. A signature is for regular people like you and I.
The next one. We don't use this word a lot, now. We usually use a short form. So we would
normally say "photo". But this word was so amazing because we have two PHs in it. The
first one and the last one. So this is "photograph, photograph." Again, we usually just use the
word "photo".
So when you are reading words in English, I would wager that more than 42 percent of
the time -- more like 87 -- if you have a PH sound, it's going to make an F sound. But
like everything in English, there are exceptions. Now, the ones that I can just think of thought
of top of my head are these words. The first word is "shepherd", "haphazard", and "peephole".
These words do, as you can see, have the PH sound in them. But these words we actually
separate the P and the H sound. So we do not say "shepfard" or "hafazard" or "peefhole",
which sounds funny, doesn't it? We actually have to separate the P and the H sound in
these words.
The first one is "shepherd". "Shepherd" is a person who hangs out with sheep. What are
they doing? We don't use this word a lot. This word, "haphazard", it has something to
do with danger. We do not say "hafhazard". It's "haphazard". You need to take a break
between the P and the H in these words. And the last one is a "peephole". A "peephole"
is a very tiny hole, usually in a wall, where you peep or spy or look at something interesting
on the other side of the wall. So usually if people -- you might see somebody's eye
here. Be careful of where you're putting your eyes in a peephole. And make sure you don't
say "peefhole" because that sounds very strange.
So with these three exceptions, you've to be careful. And when you have the PH sound
in English, it's always going to sound like an F. "Elephant, alphabet, phony, phone, Philip,
autograph, and photograph." Remember when you say the F sound, your teeth have to come
out over the bottom lip, and you have to go "fff". You're going to blow the air down.
I hope you have fun blowing hair. I'll see you next time.
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Learn English - How to make the 'PH' sound

12828 Folder Collection
Chris published on September 2, 2014
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