From Teflpedia


cause /kɔːz/

Together with the article on decoding difficulties, this page sets out some common (or not...) words teachers can use to help their students become more aware of how they can sound out more correctly the different sounds corresponding to words containing "au", most often /ɔː/.

Examples[edit | edit source]

As /ɔː/

  • assault - auction - audience - audio - audit - August - authentic - author - authority - automatic - autumn - caught - cause - clause - daughter - exhaust /ɪɡˈzɔːst/ - fault - fraud - launch - laundry - Laura - naughty - Paul - pause - sauce - taught

As /ɒ/BrE or /ɔː/AmE

  • Aussie, Australia, Austria, cauliflower

As /ɑː/BrE or /æ/AmE

  • aunt, draught,BrE laugh, laughter

The following sounds only appear in loan words.

As /əʊ/

  • aubergine, au gratin, au revoir, au lait,[1] au pair, chauffeur

As /aʊ/.

  • sauerkraut /ˈsaʊərkraʊt/

"eau"[edit | edit source]

  • as /juː/: beauty, beautiful
  • as /əʊ/: bureau
  • as /ɒ/: bureaucracy
  • as /ə/: bureaucrat

Spelling anomalies[edit | edit source]

  • As /eɪ/: gauge
  • Silent "au": restaurant /ˈrestrɒnt,BrE ˈrestərənt/AmE

The word "because"[edit | edit source]

In Received Pronunciation "because" is normally pronounced /bɪˈkɒz/[2] but it is one of the few instances in which it is possible to have a stressed schwa: /bɪˈkəz/.[2][3]

In General American "because" is pronounced /bɪˈkɔz/ or /bɪˈkʌz/.[4] In American English a stressed schwa is pronounced as /ʌ/.[3]

Homophones[edit | edit source]

Variant pronunciatons[edit | edit source]

  • astronaut /ˈæstrənɔːt,BrE AmE ˈæstrənɒtAmE/
  • austerity /ɒˈsterəti,BrE ɔˈsterətiAmE BrE/
  • Austin /ˈɒstɪn, ˈɔstɪn, ˈɔstən/
  • Saudi /ˈsaʊdiː, ˈsɔdiː/
  • sauna /ˈsɔnə, ˈsaʊnə/

Spanish L1[edit | edit source]

Many Spanish speakers (who probably don't hear their teachers, and who also their teachers don't hear them), pronounce "au" as /aʊ/ which is the way "au" sounds in Spanish. For example, "automatización" sounds like [aʊtomatiθaˈθjon] or [aʊtomatisaˈsjon], and it is very common to hear Spanish speakers saying */aʊtəˈmeɪʃən/ instead of /ɔːtəˈmeɪʃən/. Shorter and more common words, such as "cause" or "author" (which also have cognates in Spanish with the sound [aʊ]) apparently don't suffer this problem.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Collins English Dictionary, "au lait"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Collins English Dictionary, "because"
  3. 3.0 3.1 John Wells’s phonetic blog, Archive 1-15 July 2007, Stressed and unstressed schwa, 13 July 2007.
  4. Collins American Dictionary, because