The smallest element of sound in speech that can make one sound different from another is called a phoneme. The two major categories of phoneme sounds are consonant and vowel. Common consonant phonemes in English are -b, -n, -t and -r. Note how the smallest phoneme alteration in the following example changes each word completely.
Ray, bay; tip, tin; fig, fin; bun, bug; go, no; top, tap; din, don
Certain types of phonemes are created by combining more than one letter. When two letters are combined, it is called a digraph. A trigraph is the combination of three letters, though many will refer to either type as a “digraph.”
Digraphs can be composed of consonants, vowels or a combination of both. Trigraphs are generally consonant groups or consonant and vowel combinations.
Common trigraphs in English using consonants
Using consonants and vowels
The types of llll combinations can be confusing. Tttt can be confused with “consonant blends,” but they can differ greatly. The latter is composed of a group of two or more llll that can each be heard individually.
Two: brake, snow, fruit, drive, glass, skate, trace, flare
Three: straw, spring, splinter, scroll