Decoding exercises: "oo"

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ʊ

foot /fʊt/

boot /buːt/

The sequence "oo" can be pronounced basically as /uː/ and /ʊ/. There are, of course, exceptions, noted below.

Many students are not aware that /uː/ and /ʊ/ are different phonemes. For them a prerequisite lesson is Pronunciation exercises: /uː/ vs /ʊ/.

/uː/[edit]

IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
e
dress face square
ɪ ɪə
kit fleece near
ɒ əʊ ɔː
lot goat taught
ʊ ʊə
foot goose mature
juː jʊə
cute cure
ʌ ə ɜː
strut comma nurse
ɔɪ
price mouth choice
IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see
IPA Stress
ˈ Primary stress
hotel /həʊˈtel/
ˌ Secondary stress
understand
/ˌʌndərˈstænd/
IPA Syllabification
. nitrate /ˈnaɪ.treɪt/, night-rate /ˈnaɪt.reɪt/
  • boom - boost - boot - brood - choose - cool - coot - crooner - doom - drool - droop - food - fool - hoop - hoot - loop - loose - loot - mood - moon - moose - moot - noon - pool - proof - root - school - schooner - scoop - shoot - soon - spook - spool - snooker - snooze - stool - stoop - tool - toot - tooth - troop - zoom

Note that /ʊ/ cannot end a word. The following words necessarily end in /uː/. Stress marks added to facilitate pronunciation.

  • bamˈboo - boo - ˈcuckoo /ˈkʊkuː/ - ˈigloo - kangaˈroo - moo - shamˈpoo - shoo - taˈboo - tatˈtoo - too - ˈvoodoo - ˈWaterloo or Waterˈloo - zoo

/ʊ/[edit]

Only a few consonants can follow /ʊ/.

  • /d/: childhood - good - hood - neighborhoodAmE - neighbourhoodBrE - stood - understood - wood
  • /k/: book - brook - cook - crook - hook - look - rook - shook - took
  • /l/: wool
  • /t/: foot - soot

For some people /f/ and /m/ can be added to the above consonants (see "/uː/ or /ʊ/" below).

  • /f/: hoof - roof
  • /m/: broom - groom - room

/uː/ or /ʊ/[edit]

In the 1920s and earlier the more usual pronunciation of room was probably /rʊm/. In the United Kingdom in 1988, 81% pronounced /ruːm/. In the United States in 1993 the figure was higher: 93%.[1]

Other examples: bedroom - blooming (swear word) - broom - groom - hoof[2] - mushroom - roof[3] - room - roomy - root (only as a variant in American English)[4]

Exceptions[edit]

  • /ʌ/: blood - flood
Different syllables
  • /əʊ ɒ/: cooperate - cooperation - zoologist - zoology
  • /əʊ ə/: zoological
  • /əʊ ɔː/: coordinate - coordination - microorganism
Two different words
  • no one (*noone is a misspelling)

Homophones[edit]

  • root /ruːt, rʊtAmE/ - route /ruːt, raʊtAmE/; shoe - shoo; too - two; wood - would;

References[edit]

  1. John Well's phonetic blog, room, now and then, 22 September 2010.
  2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hoof
  3. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/roof
  4. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/root

See also[edit]

External links[edit]