July 2021

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

ABN 67 090 738 702
Web: https://www.elr.com.au
Email: news@elr.com.au
Follow: @ELRsoftware

ELR Software produces computer programs designed by speech pathologists for speech, language & literacy intervention. Our programs may be used interactively within therapy sessions, to increase efficiency in service delivery, and to improve access to the Internet for people with special needs. We are also available as consultants to clinicians and research projects in the fields of literacy and accessibility issues associated with the Internet.

The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources) and Word Meanings. We welcome the opportunity for feedback and questions, and will be pleased to consider including reader contributions and announcements.

This Newsletter (and previous editions) as well as a "print-ready" PDF version of the current edition is available online at www.elr.com.au/news. An email version is also sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing).

In this issue -

  1. What's New in eLr
  2. Syllabic Consonants
  3. Other Independent Developers
  4. Free Downloads
  5. ELR 2021 Calendar

  1. What's New in eLr

  2. Forty nine new tasks have been added to a new section called "Syllabic Consonants" in "Reading and Spelling - Early Skills" / "Other useful groupings". These activities may be useful for students who have mastered most of the basic alphabetic code, but need support to learn some of the trickier spelling conventions of English, such as final syllables spelled with "le", eg "candle, little, bangle". Next month we will cover other syllabic consonants, such as "el" (camel) and "on, en" etc (button, burden).

    Three subsections are included in this new syllabic /l/ sound section: single letter words (eg purple), double letter words (eg bubble), and nasal consonant cluster words (eg ankle). A range of models (activities) have been used to provide practice at decoding as well as reinforcing spelling. The WordSoundButtons shows how to break these words into syllables; WordBreaker provides more detailed information about the structure of the word (syllables, sounds, vowel sounds, and stress pattern); WordSearch encourages the student to sound out and blend the sounds to read each word; LookThenCover and SmileyMan support the student's ability to recall spelling patterns; and MemoryWords and ConnectWords provide fun activities to consolidate automatic recognition of previously decoded words (sight words).

    We welcome your feedback about these tasks and any aspect of eLr, as well as your suggestions about additions and modifications to eLr.

  3. Syllabic Consonants

  4. A syllabic consonant is a consonant that forms a syllable on its own, like the sounds /l/, /n/ and /m/ in the English words "bottle, button and rhythm", or is the nucleus of a syllable, like the /r/ in rhotic accents that pronounce the "r" in words like "car and work". To clarify the nature of a syllabic consonant, we need to consider two issues: the characteristics of the sounds of English and the structure of English syllables.

    Regarding the sounds in English, there are two main types of sounds - vowels and consonants. Vowels are voiced sounds that, even though the mouth may change shape, flow freely from the mouth without significant obstruction, eg /ah, ee, oi, ay/. Consonants, on the other hand, have some sort of obstruction, and are produced with or without voice. For example, the /p/ sound has no voice, is totally obstructed by both lips, and then "let go" with a little explosion - it is a voiceless, bilabial, plosive sound. In contrast, the /z/ sound is voiced with partial obstruction (the tongue behind the top teeth and both teeth together) - it is a voiced, fricative, continuant sound. While all consonant sounds are obstructed to varying degrees, there are a few consonant sounds that have minimal obstruction: the /l/, /n/, /m/, and /r/ - they are voiced and flow freely with a sonorous characteristic.

    If we now turn our attention to syllables: a syllable is considered to consist of one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants; it may be a whole word or part of a word. For example, there is one syllable in "fill", two in "ful-fill", and three in "ful-fill-ing". Words that have more than one syllable usually have stressed and unstressed syllables, eg "little" is pronounced as /LITT-le/ - the first syllable is stressed and the second is unstressed.

    Syllabic consonants (ie a syllable which consists of only a consonant sound) only occur in an unstressed syllable; and that syllable must involve one of the sonorous consonants with minimal obstruction (eg /l/, /n/, /m/). Research has been conducted to actually measure the existence of syllabic consonants involving /l/ and /n/ in certain accents. Using inspection of the waveform and spectrographic analysis of spoken syllables in connected speech, they showed that syllabic "n" occurs following only certain consonants (eg /t/ /d/ as in "button" and "burden") while syllabic "l" is less restricted and occurs following a much greater range of consonants (eg as in "apple", "raffle", "buckle", "needle").

    1. Toft, Z (2002) "The Phonetics and Phonology of some Syllabic Consonants in Southern British English." ZAS Papers in Linguistics, 28 doi:10.21248/zaspil.28.2002.162
  5. Other Independent Developers

  6. As an occasional feature of this Newsletter, we include simple, unpaid announcements of products developed by other small, independent developers, who, like ourselves, are practising clinicians who have put their ideas and experience into resource materials for general distribution. Links and brief information about these sites may be found at www.elr.com.au/links/developers.htm. To date we have listed -

    If you would like your materials listed on this page (at no charge), please contact us.

  7. Free Downloads

  8. ELR has a number of free or evaluation files available for downloading directly from our website. Please see www.elr.com.au/downloads.htm for specific details. For other supporting materials and documents available for free download, please see www.elr.com.au/support.htm.

  9. ELR 2021 Calendar

  10. ELR Software offers free eLr tutorials over the web. We can provide this sort of support to individuals, or to groups who would like to have an overview of eLr. We are also offering free Coviu sessions to allow clinicians to get a feel for teletherapy, and in particular the advantages of using eLr for Coviu. Please contact us for details.

Subscribing/Unsubscribing to this Newsletter

You are receiving ELR-News because you are an eLr subscriber, or have expressed an interest in either eLr, Build-a-Sentence or Word Meanings. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

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