Pronunciation Problems 3 – ou and oo

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English pronunciation can be difficult!

 

Last time we looked at the letter combination AE, which had 6 different ways of pronouncing it.  Click here if you have not read it yet.

 

Today let’s take a look at another couple of tricky letter combinations, OO and OU.  How many different ways can they be pronounced?

The 5 most common pronunciations

/ɑʊ/ or “ow”

This is the sound from now and brown.  You can see it in words like count and out.

/ʊ/ or “uh”

This is the short “uh” sound, it’s made in the centre of the mouth.  It’s in words like woman and put.  You can see it in words like cook and wool.

/u:/ or “oo”

This is long sound, your lips should be rounded.  It’s in words like rude or who.   You can see it in words like boot and soup.

/ɔ:/ or “or”

This is another long sound, like in bored or corner.  You can see it in words like  floor and poor.

/ʌ/ or “u”

This is short sound, like in up or company.  You can see it in words like cousin and young.

Activity – Sorting words by pronunciation

Here are some common words with ea.  You need to divide them in to the different pronunciation categories.

found could country boot bought touch food foot house mouth good group southern  touch moon would school wood through you blood  flood

Sort them into the categories below
You can see the answers at the bottom of the page.

ɑʊ ʊ u: ɔ: ʌ
found

.

.

The answers

ɑʊ ʊ u: ɔ: ʌ
found

house

mouth

sound

could

foot

good

look

wood

would

boot

food

group

moon

school

you

youth

through

 

bought

door

four

 

country

touch

flood

blood

 

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