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ERR (merry) Sound Word List

By Rodney Everson

The /err/ sound is one of a class of four sounds often referred to as the r-controlled vowel sounds. The four sounds are /ar/ (car), /or/ (for), /er/ (her), and /err/ (merry). This class of vowel sounds has few spelling options.

Of the 7,000 words in the database constructed from a popular children’s dictionary, four of them are one-syllable words in which the vowel sound is /err/. Note that words in which a typical /ae/ spelling is followed by the letter "r", such as air, share, and bear, are not on this list, but appear on the word list for the spellings of the /ae/ sound instead because they can be easily blended as two sounds.

The /err/ sound is a controversial inclusion in a list of English vowel sounds. There is an extended discussion of the issue on the page itself, but essentially, if all three words in the phrase “Marry merry Mary” sound identical in your region, consider including the /err/ sound in the curriculum.

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Comprehensive Word Lists

Features over 100 word lists built from 7,000 words input from a children's dictionary. Lists are organized by vowel and consonant sounds and cover most common spellings. Useful in the classroom for building curriculum aids such as short stories that emphasize specific sounds and spellings. Multisyllable words are also included, chunked according to the method taught in the OnTrack Reading Advanced Code Phonics Workbook.