Not sure what you mean by the “they’re their own thing” exception. As for their and heir, it’s debatable that they’re the same sound as the English long A vowel. They are closer to the Japanese え than えい, えい being a close equivalent to the English long A vowel.
Setting aside whether there actually is some deep linguistic rule that applies or not… It would be really unhelpful if people were expected to know how to apply that knowledge before they could use the typical jingle.
This is why English is such a fun language for its native speakers. We live in a world where “world” is technically a 1-syllable word.
The jingle is meant for situations where ie or ei are used for a vowel and you aren’t sure which one it is. It’s for cases where the ie or ei are considered to be a single vowel (I’m talking how native English speakers perceive vowels, not how the vowel sounds actually work phonetically). In a word like sufficient, the i is part of the group “ci” which makes the “sh” sound, so it is not grouped with the e. In science, the i is audibly its own syllable. Furthermore, in therein, it is very clearly the combination of there and in, and the e and the i are not making their own sound together.
I will admit that their and heir is debatable.
The jingle worked great for me as a kid. I knew there were a few exceptions (and I memorized a few of the basic ones like weird), but all of the situations where it applied felt natural to me and I didn’t feel like I needed some deep linguistic knowledge to use it. (I would argue I didn’t have any linguistic knowledge outside of what I knew from English, which I have since learned barely applies to other languages.)
Edit: Woops meant to reply to @Leebo on this one
My point, and I think Leebo’s point, was that the verbiage required to make the jingle work would be so overly verbose and convoluted that there may as well not be a jingle at all.
Here’s a sanity check to see if the jingle works: A person encounters a word that has ei or ie, with or without a C in front. Does the jingle help them predict how the word will be pronounced? If not, how much verbiage would be required for the jingle to do so?
The truth is that the combinations of ie or ei as a single syllable can be used to create the sounds of the long vowels A, I and E. They can also create the sounds of the short vowel E. They can also be two syllables.
The English language doesn’t afford itself a neat set of rules for spelling or pronunciation, and any rules created are a retrospective attempt to find method in the madness.
If that’s true, it’s basically never mentioned by people teaching it to children.
And while you mentioned you don’t feel that it’s “deep” linguistic knowledge, loads of people would just stare blankly at you if you told them that.
They wouldn’t see any distinction with words you said don’t apply.
I refuse to spell out chrysiantnjsheme
If there’s anything close on Tsurukame, I add it as a synonym.
My main point I want to make is that the ie vs ei jingle is not useless. At the very least, it worked exactly as intended for me as a kid and it helped me learn how to spell a lot of words.
The most notable exceptions I have seen are ‘forfeit’ and ‘sleight’. Are you saying the jingle accounts for those (it doesn’t appear to), and if not, how would you include them in the jingle?
Forfeit is pronounced with the short i, and sleight is pronounced the same as slight, with the long I sound, despite being spelled similarly to weight.
I before E, except after C,
And when sounding like A, as in “neighbor” and “weigh”,
And on weekends and holidays and all throughout May,
And you’ll always be wrong no matter what you say.
– Brian Regan
I never said the jingle accounts for everything. I even mentioned weird as an even more notable exception earlier. I’m just trying to say it’s a good rule of thumb that works in a decent number of cases and can be useful when learning how to spell.
@Logograph i feel targettes by this thread
For once I’m not the one doing the targeting
As an adult born in New Zealand who has lived in Australia for half my life I tend to get the vowels mixed up in words because pacific people pronounce vowels differently (weird accent) … I never get separate right because when an Aussie actually pronounces it …it sounds like seperate (or even seprit) …lot’s of other words where the a and e and sometimes i sounds get swapped in actual spoken language. I noticed that Wanikani accepts British and American English which is nice (colour vs color for example)
… oh and municipal, we don’t really use this word down under so that was fun