IPA phoneme /ʊ/
This phoneme is very uncommon. Below there is a list that includes all common words with /ʊ/ (it excludes derivative words such as football or wolves).
- with "oo": book - cook - foot - good - hood - hook - look - shook - stood - took - wood - wool - whoops!
- with "o": wolf - woman
- with "ou": could - would - should
- with "u": bull - bullet - bully - bush - butcher - cushion - full - pudding - pull - push - put - sugar
- homophones: wood - would.
Less common words
- with "oo": brook - crook - rook - soot
- with "o": bosom
- with "u": bushel - bulletin - chutzpah - cuckoo - fulfilBrE - fulfillAmE - pulpit
- Worcester /ˈwʊstər/
These words don't rhyme
- foot - boot; full - null; would - BrE wolf - golf; woman - Roman; ;
/ʊ/ followed by /r/
In Received Pronunciation but not in General American there is a difference between /ʊər/ and /ʊr/ when these sequences are followed by a vowel: mural is [ˈmjʊərəl]BrE and guru is [ˈgʊruː].BrE In General American there is no difference: some people pronounce [ˈmjʊərəl] and [ˈgʊəruː] and others [ˈmjʊrəl] and [ˈgʊruː]. Since the difference between [ʊər]AmE and [ʊr]AmE is predictable, phoneticians say that in American English there is no phoneme /ʊə/, only phoneme /ʊ/.
See also: Decoding exercises: "urV" and "urrV"
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following sections aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.