Balancing the Sword - A comprehensive study guide to life's manual
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Definition of word.

graphophonic cueing system
graph-o-phonic cue-ing sys-tem

The graphophonic cueing system is one of the main four language cueing systems. This technique is also known as the phonic cueing system or the phonological cueing system. The graphophonic cueing system is based upon analyzing letters and phonemes. A phoneme is an irreducible phonetic unit corresponding to a particular sound. The prefix grapho- means writing. The word phonic means of or relating to sound. Graphophonic analysis studies the letter-sound relationships within a word.  The sounds often hint towards a certain meaning.

We sound out words by their parts using graphophonic techniques. A student may not recognize a word when written, but instantly knows a word's definition when the word is heard or successfully pronounced.  This is the difference between a person's oral vocabulary versus his reading vocabulary.  (See vocabulary for more.)

There are two notable weaknesses to inferring meaning based upon sound alone:  pronunciation and homophones.  The English language is very flexible and dialects morph over time and by geography.  As a result, the way people pronounce words or combine letters is irregular.  Secondly, homophones are words which sound the same yet have different meanings (wear vs. where).

Graphophonic cueing determines the possible meaning of a word based upon the phonetic sounds within the word. For example, consider the word psalmist in the King James version of 2 Samuel 23:1:  "Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said...." Many readers know that the letter p is silent when beginning a word and followed by the letter s. Furthermore, the average reader knows that the letter a is soft when not followed by a vowel. The suffix -ist is pronounced as it appears. Thus, the word psalmist is pronounced as sälm-ist. The sound sälm follows the word psalm, which is a short lyrical poem. This suffix -ist follows nouns describing someone of reputation, skill, or loyalty to a particular belief, ability, custom, or knowledge (e.g., evangelist, biblicist, monotheist, religionist, spiritualist, or canonist). A psalmist is one who is skilled in lyrical poetry. However, graphophonic cues are most evident with onomatopoeias (e.g., slap, crash, zip, tick tock, knock-knock, buzz, hiss, tweet, bark, roar, zoom, etc.) which create a rhetorical effect denoting the meaning of the word when pronounced.

See cueing systems.

Author: Allen B. Wolfe

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