Accounting for the final < e > of < love >
If the final single < e > of the spelling < love > were fulfilling a phonological function it could only be as a signal that the previous single-letter grapheme < o > is representing the so-called ‘long O’ (as it actually does in such spelling as < bone > and < hope >).
The final < e > of < love > is fulfilling no phonological function. It must, therefore, be conforming to an orthographic convention.
The final < v > convention
The word pronounced [ lᴧv ] has three phonemes / l • ᴧ • v /. When the appropriate graphemes are applied, the ‘raw’ phonological spelling is < luv >, but a phonological representation is not necessarily a complete spelling.
The fact that a provisional spelling has a final < v > alerts real spellers to the orthographic convention that no complete word of English origin may have final < -v >; we write < -ve >.
So we write < luve >. Here are more spellings that conform to the convention that complete words are not complete if they have final < v >.
have give nerve twelve solve
Digression: Letters other than < v > that are not found finally
The convention of avoiding final < i > in complete English words is explained in Kit 1 Theme A. The letter < j >, historically an allograph of < i >, is also not found finally in a complete word.
The single-letter grapheme < u >, like the letter < v > of which it was an allograph until comparatively recently, does not occur finally in complete English words.
- The letter < u > occurs finally in just two complete English words, the pronouns < thou > and < you > where it is a component of the digraph < ou >.
The single-letter grapheme < a > is not found finally. The short form < a > of the indefinite article < a(n) > is an abbreviation; the < n > has fallen away rather than been added (it has the same root as < one > - the Old English word for “one” and the indefinite article were the same word, as they still are in French, Italian, Spanish, German and other languages.
When the letter < a > is found finally in complete English words it is a component of the digraph < ea >.