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⟨bu⟩

From Teflpedia
A buoy.

⟨bu⟩ is a consonant digraph consisting of the letters B and U.

In English, bu represents a voiced bilabial stop /b/ sound.

This is mainly found in the word build, and associated words, e.g. builder, building, built, etc, and the verb buy and its -ing form buying. It’s also found in buoy /bɔɪ/ and related words, e.g. buoyancy /ˈbɔɪ.jən.si/ and buoyant /ˈbɔɪ.jənt/., the American pronunciation of buoy as /bu:wi:/ is spelling pronunciation and inconsistent with buoyancy (though some Americans pronounce that /ˈbu:wənsi:/(!). There are some uncommon surnames beginning bu- to which this may also apply.

⟨bu⟩ is similar to ⟨gu⟩ and ⟨qu⟩: Compare (1) build with guild, (2) built with guilt and quilt (3) buy with guy.

As a digraph, this one is quite rare, and it’s more common for learners from elementary level to learn build and buy (and their derivations) as sightwords. Buoy is unlikely to be encountered until at least intermediate level.