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⟨ow⟩

From Teflpedia

⟨ow⟩ is a vowel digraph commonly found in English consisting of the letters O and W.

⟨owl⟩ and ⟨owel⟩ are dealt with separately.

Coding[edit | edit source]

Minimal pairs[edit | edit source]

/aʊ/ vs. /əʊ/: clown, clone; drown, drone; now, know/no; town, tone

One extra consonant with /aʊ/: how, house; owl, foul;

One extra consonant with /əʊ/: blow, bloke; glow, globe

Heteronyms[edit | edit source]

There are some heteronyms with this spelling, including:

  • bow: /baʊ/ inclination, /bəʊ/ weapon;
  • row: /raʊ/ quarrel, /rəʊ/ line;

Two sounds in one concept[edit | edit source]

  • /əʊ/-/aʊ/: burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)

These words don’t rhyme[edit | edit source]

/aʊ/ vs. /əʊ/: cow, low; now, know; owl, bowl; allow, below; flower, slower; frown, grown

One extra letter changes the vowel[edit | edit source]

  • /aʊ/ then /əʊ/: owl, bowl; now, know, snow;
  • /əʊ/ then /aʊ/: crow, crowd, crown;

Proper names[edit | edit source]

  • /əʊ/: David Bowie, J.K. Rowling
  • The name Cowper is pronounced like Cooper /ku:pə(r)/.

Spanish L1[edit | edit source]

Spanish speakers are notorious bad listeners. They will often pronounce /əʊ/ instead of /aʊ/. Even the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language suggested the spelling "clon" for “clown",[1] when it should have been "claun".

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, 22nd edition, clon. This meaning was suppressed in the 23rd edition of the dictionary.