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Consonants

Notes:

  • In the tables, the hyphen has two different meanings. A hyphen after the letter indicates that it must be at the beginning of a syllable, e.g. j- in jumper and ajar. A hyphen before the letter indicates that it cannot be at the beginning of a word, e.g. -ck in sick and ticket.
  • More specific rules take precedence over more general ones, e.g. "c- before e, i or y" takes precedence over "c".
  • Where the letter combination is described as "word-final", inflectional suffixes may be added without changing the pronunciation, e.g. catalogues.
  • The dialect used is RP.
  • Isolated foreign borrowings are excluded.
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English orthography

 

English orthography

after /w/ except before /k/, /ɡ/, /ŋ/ /ɒ/ watch, warrior, quantity /æ/ quango
after /w/ before final r or r + cons. /ɔː/ warning, dwarf, war
unstressed /ə/ another, about, woman Ø artistically /i/ karaoke
unstressed, in -age /ɨ/ damage, bondage
aa, ah /ɑː/ baa, blah /eɪ/ quaalude
ae usually /iː/ encyclopaedia, paediatrician /ɛ/ aesthetic /eɪ/ reggae
/aɪ/ maestro
before r /ɛə/ aerial, aeroplane
ai, ay stressed /eɪ/ bait, cocaine, day /ɛ/
/aɪ/
said, again, says
samurai, kayak, aye
/æ/ plaid
/iː/ quay
before r /ɛə/ cairn, millionaire, dairy
unstressed /ɨ/ bargain, mountain /ə/ Britain
ao /eɪ/ gaol /aʊ/ Taoism /oʊ/ pharaoh
au, aw /ɔː/ taut, author, lawn, /ɒ/
/ɑː/
sausage, because, laurel
aunt, draught, laugh
/eɪ/ gauge
/oʊ/ mauve
e
  • before single consonant
  • before cons + (-le or r+vowel)
  • final, only vowel in word
  • final, Greek loans
  • before heterosyllabic vowel
/iː/ receding, detail, gene
metre, secret
be, she
simile, catastrophe
neon
/eɪ/
/ɛ/
Ø
ukulele, cafe, crepe
metal, lemon, heron
livelihood, fateful
  • before multiple consonants
  • final vowel in word
  • followed by 2 or more
    unstressed syllables
  • next syllable contains /ɪ/
/ɛ/ better, fetch, merry
get, watershed
legacy, elegant, delicate

crevice, perish, epicness
/iː/ lethal
axes (plural of axis)
legally

evil
/ɪ/ pretty
before final r or r + cons.
(and in derived terms)
/ɜː/ herd, kerb, referral /ɑː/ clerk, sergeant
before r + vowel /ɪə/ serious, series, here /ɛə/
/ɛ/
therefore, werewolf
very
/ɜː/ were
word-final Ø mate, discipline, starve
plague
/iː/ recipe
unstressed /ɨ/ hatchet, target, poet /ə/ taken, decency, moment
usd, before heterosyllabic vowel /i/ create, area, atheist, hideous
ea usually /iː/ beach, eating, please /ɛ/ bread, healthy, cleanse /eɪ/ break, great, steak
before r + cons. /ɜː/ earth, learn, early /ɑː/ hearty, hearth /ɪə/ beard
before final r or r + vowel
(and in derived terms)
/ɪə/ clear, hearing, yearly /ɛə/ bear, pear, swear
eau /oʊ/ bureau, plateau, tableau /juː/ beauty /ɒ/ bureaucracy
ee usually /iː/ bee, feed /eɪ/ matinee, fiancee
before r /ɪə/ cheering, beer, eerie
ei, ey usually /eɪ/ veil, reign, obey /iː/
/aɪ/
seize, key, geyser
height, heist, gneiss, eye
/ɛ/ heifer, leisure
after c /iː/ deceive, ceiling, conceit
before r /ɛə/ heir, their /ɪə/ weird, weir, eyrie
unstressed /ɨ/ foreign, counterfeit
unstressed, word-final /i/ monkey, curtsey, jersey
german-derived words /aɪ/ reich
german-derived words, before r /aɪə/ Vorbeigehen
eo /ɛ/ leopard, jeopardy /iː/ people /oʊ/ yeoman
/ɪə/ leotard
eu(e),
ew(e),
ieu,
iew
usually /juː/ feudal, queue, dew,
ewe, lieu, view
/oʊ/ sew, shew
/ɛf/ lieutenant
after /r/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /j/, cons. + /l/ /uː/ rheumatism, jewel, blew
before r /jʊə/ amateur, neural, Newry
both of the above /ʊə/ Jewry, pleurisy
i
  • before single consonant
  • before cons + (-le or r+vowel)
  • before -nd, -ld, -gh, -gn
  • word-final
  • before heterosyllabic vowel
/aɪ/ shine, cited, guide
title, idle, vibrant
wild, kind, sighed, ensign
alumni, alibi, radii
vial, quiet, prior, pious
/ɪ/ pivot, give, engine

wind (one meaning)
/iː/ machine, ski
  • before multiple consonants
  • final vowel in word
  • followed by 2 or more
    unstressed syllables
  • next syllable contains /ɪ/
  • before cons. + e/i + vowel
/ɪ/ hitch, fiddle, mirror
bit
cinema, liberty, military

finish, spirit, minute
hideous, position, Sirius
/aɪ/ pint, ninth

silently

whitish
/æ/ meringue
/iːɪ/ ski(ing)
before final r or r + cons.
(and in derived terms)
/ɜː/ bird, fir, stirrer /ɪə/ menhir
before r + vowel /aɪə/ hire, firing, enquiry
unstressed /ɨ/ livid, typical /ə/ pencil, cousin Ø business
usd, before heterosyllabic vowel /i/ familiar, alien, radii, idiot
ie finally /aɪ/ die, tie /i/ eerie, selfie
medially /iː/ field, series, siege /aɪ/ flies, tries /ɪ/ sieve
/ɛ/ friend
before r /ɪə/ pier, fierce, bulkier
o
  • before multiple consonants
  • final vowel in word
  • followed by 2 or more
    unstressed syllables
  • next syllable contains /ɪ/
/ɒ/ or /ɑː/ dot, doctor, torrent
opera, colonise, cooperate
topic, solid, promise
/ʌ/
/oʊ/
/uː/
won, monkey, front
gross, comb, brokenly
tomb, womb
/ʊ/ wolf
  • before single consonant
  • before cons + (-le or r+vowel)
  • word-final
  • before heterosyllabic vowel
    (inc. unstressed)
/oʊ/ omen, grove, total
noble, cobra
banjo, go
boa, poet, stoic
cooperate
/ɒ/
/uː/
/ʌ/
/ə/
moral, proper, shone
to, who, move, lose
come, love, done
purpose, Europe
/ʊ/ woman
/ɪ/ women
before r /ɔə/ ford, boring, more /ɔ/ for, morning
after w, before r /ɜː/ word, work, worst /ɔə/ worn
unstressed /ə/ eloquent, wanton, author
oa usually /oʊ/ boat, coal, load /ɔː/ broad
before r /ɔə/ boar, coarse
oe usually /iː/ amoeba, coelacanth, phoenix
finally /oʊ/ toe, foe /uː/ shoe, canoe /ʌ/ does
unstressed /ɪ/ oedema
oeu /uː/ manoeuvre
oi, oy usually /ɔɪ/ coin, boy
before r /wɑː/ reservoir, memoir, repertoire /ɔɪə/ loir /waɪə/ choir
oo usually /uː/ hoop, booze /ʊ/ wool, foot, soot /oʊ/ brooch
before k, d /ʊ/ look, wood /uː/ food, brood, spook /ʌ/ blood, flood
before r /ɔə/ door, mooring /ʊə/ poor
ou stressed /aʊ/ out, aloud, bough /uː/
/ʌ/
/oʊ/
soup, you, through
touch, trouble, country
soul, dough, boulder
/ʊ/ courier, should
/ɒ/ cough
before r /ɔː/ tourist, contour, pour /aʊə/
/ɜː/
hour, our, devour
journey, courteous, scourge
/ʊ/ courier
/ʌ/ courage
unstressed /ə/ camouflage, labour, nervous
ow stressed /aʊ/ cow, sow, allow /oʊ/ know, show /ɒ/ acknowledge
before r /aʊə/ dowry
unstressed /oʊ/ yellow, rainbow, narrow
u
  • before multiple consonants
  • final vowel in word
/ʌ/ butter, dump, current /ʊ/ put, full, pudding
  • before single consonant
  • before cons + (-le or r+vowel)
  • before heterosyllabic vowel
    (inc. unstressed)
  • word-final
/juː/ luminous, mute, tuba
bugle, rubric
duel, fatuous, druid,
January
/ʊ/ sugar /ɪ/ busy
above after /r/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /j/, cons. + /l/ /uː/ rule, chute, June, flu
truant, fluent, menstruate
before final r or r + cons.
(and in derived terms)
/ɜː/ curdle, burr, furry
before r + vowel /jʊə/ lure, purity, curing /jə/ failure /ɛ/ bury
above after /r/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /j/, cons. + /l/ /ʊə/ rural, jury, plural
after g, before e, i Ø guess, disguise, tongue /juː/
/w/
argue, ague
linguistics, segue
unstressed /ə/ supply /ɨ/ minute, lettuce
ue, ui usually /juː/ cue, hue, nuisance /weɪ/ suede /wiː/ suite
/ɪ/ build, biscuit
above after /r/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /j/, cons. + /l/ /uː/ blue, tissue, fruit, juice
uy /aɪ/ buy, guyed
y
  • before multiple consonants
  • followed by 2 or more
    unstressed syllables
  • next syllable contains /ɪ/
/ɪ/ myth, cryptic
cylinder, typical, pyramid
cynic
/aɪ/ hyphen, psyche
cyclically
  • before single consonant
  • before cons + (-le or r+vowel)
  • word-final, stressed
/aɪ/ typing, style, paralyze
cycle, cypress
sky, supply, bye
before final r or r + cons.
(and in derived terms)
/ɜː/ myrtle, myrrh
before r + vowel /aɪə/ lyre, tyrant, gyrate
unstressed /ə/ sibyl, martyr
unstressed, word-final /i/ city, happy
Spelling Major value () Examples of major value Other values Examples of other values
b, bb usually /b/ bit, rabbit, obtain Ø bdellium, debtor, subtle
finally after m
(and in derived terms)
Ø climb, comb, numbing
c before e, i, y, ae, or oe /s/ cellar, city, cyst,
face, prince, nicer
caesium, coelacanth
/tʃ/
/ʃ/
/k/
/ts/
cello, vermicelli
special, liquorice
Celts, chicer
letovicite
initially before n, t Ø cnidarian, ctenoid
elsewhere /k/ cat, cross Ø victual, indict
cc before e, i or y /ks/ accept, eccentric, occidental /k/
/tʃ/
/s/
soccer, recce, siccing
bocce, breccia, cappuccino
flaccid
elsewhere /k/ account, accrue, occur, yucca
ch usually /tʃ/ chase, chin, attached, chore /k/
/h/
Ø
ached
chutzpah
yacht
Greek-derived words /k/ chasm, chimera, chord
French-derived words /ʃ/ chaise, machine, cached, parachute
Danish-derived words /dʒ/ sandwich, Greenwich
ck /k/ tack, ticket
d, dd, dh /d/ dive, ladder, jodhpurs /dʒ/
Ø
graduate, gradual (both also /dj/ in RP)
Wednesday, handsome
-dg- before e, i, or y /dʒ/ lodger, pidgin, edgy
f, -ff /f/ fine, off /v/ of
g before e, i, y, ae, or oe /dʒ/ gentle, magic, gyrate,
page, algae (GA)
/ɡ/
/ʒ/
get, eager, algae (RP)
collage, gigue
in -gm, gn- or -gn Ø diaphragm, gnome, signing, reign /ɡ/ signify, repugnant
elsewhere /ɡ/ go, great, guest /dʒ/ margarine
gg /ɡ/ stagger, flagging /dʒ/ suggest, exaggerate
gh initially /ɡ/ ghost, ghastly
elsewhere Ø dough, high, right, daughter /f/
/x/ or /k/
/ɡ/, /k/, or /x/
/p/
laugh, enough
lough
ugh!
hiccough
h usually /h/ he, alcohol Ø vehicle, honest, hono(u)r, piranha
after ex Ø exhibit, exhaust /h/ exhale
j- /dʒ/ jump, ajar /j/
/ʒ/
/h/
Ø
Hallelujah
Jean
jalapeno, fajita
Marijuana
k, -kk, kh usually /k/ key, bake, trekking, sheikh
initially before n Ø knee, knock
l, ll /l/ line, valve, valley Ø
/j/
halve, balk, salmon, tortilla
?
m, mm usually /m/ mine, hammer
initially before n Ø mnemonic
n, nn usually /n/ nice, funny
before /k/ or /ɡ/ /ŋ/ link, bangle, anchor
finally after m
(and in derived terms)
Ø hymn, autumn
ng finally and in terms
derived from ng-final words
/ŋ/ long, kingly, singer, clingy
medially otherwise /ŋɡ/
/ndʒ/
anger, finger
danger, ginger, dingy
p, pp usually /p/ pill, happy, soup, corpse, script Ø coup, receipt
initially before n, s, t Ø pneumonia, psyche, ptomaine /p/ psst
ph, pph /f/ photograph, sapphire /v/ Stephen
q (not before u) /k/ Iraq, Iqaluit
r, rr, rh, rrh usually /r/ ray, parrot, rhyme, diarrhoea Ø iron
  • before consonant
  • finally
  • before final e
Ø in non-rhotic
dialects such as RP
cart, burr, fir, care, walker, tear, hurt
See below for combinations of vowel letters and the letter r
s, ss usually /s/ song, ask, message, misled /z/
/ʃ/
/ʒ/
Ø
scissors, dessert, dissolve, Islam
sugar, tissue, aggression
vision
islet, aisle, debris
-s- between vowel sounds
(see also "se" below)
/z/ rose, prison /s/ basis
word-final -s morpheme
after a voiceless sound
/s/ pets, shops
word-final -s morpheme
after a lenis sound
/z/ beds, magazines
sc- before e, i or y /s/ scene, scepter, scissors, scythe /sk/
/ʃ/
sceptic, scirrhus
fascism
sch- /sk/ school, scheme, schizo /ʃ/
/s/
schedule (in RP, otherwise: /sk/), schist
schism (in RP, otherwise: /sk/)
sh /ʃ/ shin, fashion
t, -tt usually /t/ ten, bitter,
cation,
chaste, wallet
/ʃ/
/tʃ/
/d/
Ø
ratio, Martian
question, bastion
kindergarten
castle, chasten, ballet
in unstressed -sten, -stle, -ften Ø listen, rustle, soften /t/ tungsten, existent
-tch /tʃ/ batch, kitchen
th /θ/
/ð/
thin, both,
the, bothers
/t/
/tθ/
/th/
Ø
thyme
eighth
outhouse, potherb
asthma
v, -vv /v/ vine, savvy
w /w/ sward, swerve, wale Ø
/uː/
/v/
two, sword, answer, gunwale
cwm
Weltanschauung
wh- usually /w/ or /hw/ in Hiberno-Eng. and Southern Am. Eng. wheel
before o /h/ or /hw/ in Hiberno-Eng. and Southern Am. Eng. who, whole /w/ whopping, whorl
wr- /r/ or /wr/ in Scottish Eng. wrong, wrist
x initially /z/ xylophone
elsewhere /ks/ extent, excuse, axe /ɡz/
/ɡʒ/
/kʃ/
Ø
exit (in some pronunciations)
luxury (in some pronunciations)
anxious
faux-pas
-xc before e or i /ks/ excellent, excited
y- /j/ yes, young
z, -zz /z/ zoo, pizzazz /ts/
Ø
schizophrenic, pizza
rendezvous

Combinations of vowel letters and "r"

Spelling Major value
()
Examples of major value Minor values
()
Examples of minor value Exceptions
ayer, ayor /e[ɪ]ə[r]/ layer, mayor
owr, ower /aʊ[ə][r]/ dowry, tower, flowery

Combinations of other consonant and vowel letters

Spelling Major value
()
Examples of major value Minor values
()
Examples of minor value Exceptions
ah /ɑː/ blah
al /æl/ pal, talcum, algae, alp /ɔːl/ bald, falcon
alf /ɑːf/ (RP)
/æf/ (GA)
calf, half /æl/ alfalfa, malfeasance /ɔlf/ palfrey
alk /ɔːk/ walk, chalking, talkative /ælk/ alkaline, grimalkin /ɔlk/ balkanise
all /ɔːl/
/æl/
call, fallout, smaller
shall, callus, fallow
/ɒl/
/(ə)l/
wallet, swallow
allow, dialled
/ɛl/ (GA) marshmallow, pall-mall
alm /ɑːm/ (all three examples have alt. pronunc.) calm (also: /ɑːlm/), almond (also: /ælm/), palmistry (also: /ɑːlm/) /ælm/
/ɔːlm/
dalmatian, salmonella
almanac (also: /ælm/), almost
/æm/ salmon
/(ə)lm/ signalman
alt /ɒlt/ (RP)
/ɔːlt/ (GA)
alter, malt, salty, basalt /ælt/
/ɔːlt/
alto, shalt, saltation
altar, asphalt
/ɑlt/ gestalt (GA)
/(ə)lt/ royalty, penalty
aoh, oh /oʊ/ pharaoh, oh
unstressed ci- before a vowel /ʃ/ special, gracious /si/ species
-cqu /kw/ acquaint, acquire /k/ lacquer, racquet
word-final -ed morpheme
after /t/ or /d/*
/ɨd/ waited
word-final -ed morpheme
after a voiceless sound*
/t/ topped, surfed /ɛd/ biped, unfed
word-final -ed morpheme
after a lenis sound*
/d/ climbed, failed, ordered /ɛd/ imbed, misled, infrared
eh /eɪ/ eh
word-final -es morpheme** /ɨz/ washes, boxes
unstressed ex- before a vowel or h /ɨɡz/ exist, examine, exhaust /ɛks/ exhale
gu- before a /ɡw/ bilingual, guano, language /ɡ/ guard, guarantee
word-final -le after a consonant /əl/ little, table
-(a)isle /aɪəl/ aisle, isle, enisle, lisle
word-final -ngue /ŋ/ tongue, harangue, meringue (dessert) /ŋɡeɪ/ dengue (also /ŋɡi/), distingué, merengue (music/dance)
old /oʊld/ blindfold, older, bold /əld/ scaffold, kobold (also /ɒld/
olk /oʊk/ yolk, folk
oll /ɒl/ doll, follow, colletc., holler /oʊl/ roll, stroller, polling, tollway
olm /ɒlm/ olm, dolmen /oʊlm/ enrolment, holmium /oʊm/ holm (oak)
ong /ɒŋ/ (RP)
/ɔːŋ/ (GA)
wrong, strong, song /ɒŋ/ Congress, congregation
qu- /kw/ queen, quick /k/ liquor, mosquito
quar- before consonant /kwɔː(r)/ quarter, quart
word-final -que /k/ mosque, bisque /keɪ/ risqué /kjuː/ barbeque
word-final -re after a consonant /ər/ ogre
ro /rɒ/ rod /roʊ/ roll /ə(r)/ iron
unstressed sci- before a vowel /tʃ/ conscience (/ʃ/ in RP) /si/ omniscient (RP only)
sci- (stressed) /saɪ/ science
-scle /səl/ corpuscle, muscle
-se (noun) /s/ house, mouse
-se (verb) /z/ house, raise /s/ chase
unstressed -si before a vowel /ʃ/ expansion /ʒ/ division, illusion /zi/ physiology, busier, caesium
flimsiest
/si/ tarsier
unstressed -ssi before a vowel /ʃ/ mission /si/ potassium, dossier
unstressed -sure /ʒər/ leisure, treasure
unstressed -ti before a vowel /ʃ/ nation, ambitious /ʒ/ equation /ti/ patio, /taɪ/ cation
unstressed -ture /tʃər/ nature, picture
unstressed -zure /ʒər/ seizure, azure

* There is no way to tell if it is the morpheme or an integral part of the word. Compare snaked and naked.

** Same as above; compare the two pronunciations of axes.

Small text indicates rare words. Loans words: SP for Spanish, FR for French.

Sound to spelling correspondences

The following table shows for each sound, the various spelling patterns used to denote it. The symbol "…" stands for an intervening consonant. The letter sequences are in order of frequency with the most common first. Some of these patterns are very rare or unique, such as au for the [æ] sound in laugh (some accents). In some cases, the spellings shown are found in only one known English word (such as "mh" for /m/, or "yrrh" for /ɜr/).

Consonants
Spelling Examples
/p/ p, pp, gh pill, happy, hiccough
/b/ b, bb bit, rabbit
/t/ t, tt, ed, pt, th, ct, cht, tte, bt ten, hitter, dressed, pterodactyl, thyme, ctenoid, yacht, cigarette, doubt
/d/ d, dd, ed, dh, t (in some dialects), tt (in some dialects) dive, ladder, abandoned, dharma, waiter, flatter
/ɡ/ g, gg, gue, gh, gu go, stagger, catalogue, ghost, guess
/k/ c, k, ck, ch, cc, qu, cqu, cu, que, kk, kh, q, x, cq cat, key, tack, chord, account, liquor, Jacqueline, biscuit, mosque, trekker, khan, Queen, excitement, acquire
/m/ m, mm, mb, mn, mh, gm, chm mine, hammer, climb, hymn, mho, diaphragm, drachm
/n/ n, nn, kn, gn, pn, nh, cn, mn nice, funny, knee, gnome, pneumonia, piranha, cnidarian, mnemonic
/ŋ/ ng, n, ngue sing, link, tongue
/r/ r, rr, wr, rh, rrh ray, parrot, wrong, rhyme, diarrh(o)ea
/f/ f, ph, ff, gh, pph, u fine, physical, off, laugh, sapphire, lieutenant  (Br)
/v/ v, vv, f, ph, w, ve vine, savvy, of, Stephen, weltanschauung, twelve
/θ/ th, chth, phth, tth, fth (in some dialects) thin, chthonic, phthisis, Matthew, twelfth
/ð/ th, the them, breathe
/s/ s, c, ss, sc, st, ps, sch (in some dialects), cc, se, ce, z (in some dialects) song, city, mess, scene, listen, psychology, schism, flaccid, horse, ounce, citizen
/z/ s, z, x, zz, ss, ze, c (in some dialects), ts, tz has, zoo, xylophone, fuzz, scissors, breeze, electricity, tsarina, tzar
/ʃ/ sh, ti, ci, ssi, si, ss, ch, s, sci, ce, sch, sc, che, c shin, nation, special, mission, expansion, tissue, machine, sugar, conscience, ocean, schmooze, crescendo, quiche, speciality
/ʒ/ si, s, g, z, j, ti, sh (in some dialects) division, leisure, genre, seizure, jeté, equation, Pershing
/tʃ/ ch, t, tch, ti, c, cc, tsch, cz, che China, nature, batch, bastion (some accents), cello, bocce, putsch, Czech, niche
/dʒ/ g, j, dg, dge, d, di, gi, ge, gg magic, jump, judgment, bridge, graduate, soldier, Belgian, dungeon, exaggerate
/h/ h, wh, j, ch, x he, who, fajita, chutzpah, Quixote
/j/ y, i, j, ll, e yes, onion, hallelujah, tortilla, eoarchean
/l/ l, ll, lh line, hallo, Lhasa
/w/ w, u, o, ou, wh (in most dialects) we, persuade, choir, Ouija board, what
/hw/ wh (in Hiberno-Eng. and Southern Am. Eng.) wheel
/wr/ wr (in Scottish Eng.) wren
/x/ ch (in Scottish Eng.) loch
/ɾ/ tt, dd, t, d(see flapping) better, daddy, united, Cody
Vowels
Spelling Examples
/iː/ e, ea, ee, e…e, ae, ei, i…e, ie, eo, oe, ie...e, ay, ey, i, y, oi, ue, ey, a be, beach, bee, cede, Caesar, deceit, machine, field, people, amoeba (variant of ameba), hygiene, quay (RP only; /eɪ/ in GA), key, ski, city, chamois, Portuguese, geyser (RP only; /aɪ/ in GA), karaoke
/ɪ/ i, y, ui, e, ee, ie, o, u, a, ei, ee, ia, ea, i...e, ai, ii, oe bit, myth, build, pretty, been (some accents), sieve, women, busy, damage, counterfeit, carriage, mileage, medicine, bargain, shiitake, oedema
/uː/ oo, u, o, u…e, ou, ew, ue, o…e, ui, eu, oeu, oe, ough, wo, ioux, ieu, oup, w, u tool, luminous, who, flute, soup, jewel, true, lose, fruit, maneuver, manoeuvre (Br. variant of prec.), canoe, through (form. variant of "thru"), two, Sioux, lieutenant  (GA), coup, cwm, thru (inf.)
/ʊ/ oo, u, o, oo...e, or, ou, oul look, full, wolf, gooseberry, worsted, courier, should
/eɪ/ a, a…e, aa, ae, ai, ai...e, aig, aigh, al, ao, au, ay, e (é), e...e, ea, eg, ei, ei...e, eig, eigh, ee (ée), eh, er, es, et, ey, ez, ie, oeh, ue, uet bass, rate, quaalude, reggae, rain, cocaine, arraign, straight, Ralph  (dated Br.), gaol  (Australian var. of "jail"), gauge (var. of gage), pay, ukulele (café), crepe, steak, thegn, veil, beige, reign, eight, matinee (soirée), eh, dossier, demesne, ballet, obey, chez, lingerie  (US), boehmite (also: /oʊ/), dengue (usually: /i/), sobriquet (also: /ɛt/; var. of "soubriquet")
/ə/ a, e, o, u, ai, ou, eig, y, ah, ough, ae, oi another, anthem, awesome, atrium, mountain, callous, foreign, beryl, Messiah, borough  (Br), Michael, porpoise
/oʊ/ o, o…e, oa, ow, ou, oe, oo, eau, oh, ew, au, aoh, ough, eo so, bone, boat, know, soul, foe, brooch, beau, oh, sew, mauve, pharaoh, furlough, yeoman
/ɛ/ e, ea, a, ae, ai, ay, ea…e, ei, eo, ie, ieu, u, ue, oe met, weather, many, aesthetic, said, says, cleanse, heifer, jeopardy, friend, lieutenant  (Br), bury, guess, foetid
/æ/ a, ai, al, au, i hand, plaid, salmon, laugh (some accents), meringue
/ʌ/ u, o, o…e, oe, ou, oo, wo sun, son, come, does, touch, flood, twopence
/ɔː/ a, au, aw, ough, augh, o, oa, oo, al, uo, u, ao fall, author, jaw, bought, caught, cord, broad, door, walk, fluorine  (Br), sure  (some accents), extraordinary
/ɒ/ o, a, eau, ach, au, ou lock, watch, bureaucracy, yacht, sausage, cough
/ɑː/ a, ah, aa, i father, blah, baa, lingerie  (US)
/aɪ/ ae, ai, aie, aille, ais, ay, aye, ei, eigh, ey, eye, i, i…e, ia, ie, ic, ig, igh, is, oi, oy, ui, uy, uye, y, y...e, ye maestro, krait, shanghaied, canaille (RP), aisle, kayak, aye, heist, height, geyser (US), eye, mic, fine, diaper, tie, indict, sign, high, isle, choir, coyote, guide, buy, guyed, tryst, type, bye
/ɔɪ/ oi, oy, awy, uoy oy…e, eu foil, toy, lawyer, buoy, gargoyle, Freudian
/aʊ/ ou, ow, ough, au, ao out, now, bough, tau, Taoism
/ɑr/ aar, ar, are, arre, ear, er, our, uar, arrh bazaar, car, are, bizarre, heart, sergeant, our  (some accents), guard, catarrh
/ɛər/ aar, aer, air, aire, ar, are, ayer, ayor, ear, eir, er, ere, err, erre, ey're, e'er Aaron, aerial, hair, millionaire, ware, vary, prayer, mayor, bear, heir, stationery (some accents), where, err (variant), parterre, they're, e'er
/ɪər/ ear, eer, eir, eor, ere, ers, e're, ier, iere, ir ear, beer, weir, theory  (US), here, revers, we're, pier, premiere, menhir
/ɜr/ er, or, ur, ir, yr, our, ear, err, eur, yrrh, ar, oeu, olo fern, worst, turn, thirst, myrtle, journey, earth, err, amateur, myrrh, grammar, hors d'oeuvre, colonel
/juː/ u, u…e, eu, ue, iew, eau, ieu, ueue, ui, ewe, ew music*, use, feud, cue, view, beautiful*, adieu*, queue, nuisance*, ewe, few, * in some dialects, see yod-dropping

See also

Orthographies of English related languages

Germanic languages

Romance languages

Celtic languages

Historical languages

Artificial languages

References

  1. ^ A short history of English spelling
  2. ^ English language. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/188048/English-language
  3. ^ Often this is because of the historical pronunciation of each word where, over time, two separate sounds become the same but the different spellings remain: plane used to be pronounced ˈpleːn, but the sound merged with the // sound in plain, making plain and plane homonyms.
  4. ^ Rollings 2004: 16-19; Chomsky & Halle 1968; Chomsky 1970
  5. ^ Chomsky & Halle 1968:54
  6. ^ Chomsky 1970:294; Rollings 2004:17
  7. ^ Rollings 2004:17–19
  8. ^ Included in Webster's Third New International Dictionary,1981
  9. ^ Algeo, John. "The Effects of the Revolution on Language", in A Companion to the American Revolution. John Wiley & Sons, 2008. p.599
  10. ^ a b Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Twisted Story of English Spelling, by David Wolman. Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-136925-4. [1]

Bibliography

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External links

  • Rules for English Spelling: Adding Suffixes, QU Rule, i before e, Silent e, 'er' vs. 'or'
  • Hou tu pranownse Inglish describes rules which predict a word's pronunciation from its spelling with 85% accuracy
  • Free spelling information and Free spelling lessons in QuickTime movie format at The Phonics Page.
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