Decoding exercises: "au"
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/.
- 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
- Aussie, Australia, Austria, cauliflower
- aunt, BrE laugh, laughter ,
The following sounds only appear in loan words.
- aubergine, au gratin, au revoir, au lait, au pair, chauffeur
- sauerkraut /ˈsaʊərkraʊt/
- as /juː/: beauty, beautiful
- as /əʊ/: bureau
- as /ɒ/: bureaucracy
- as /ə/: bureaucrat
The word "because"
- /ɔː/: aural - oral; clause - claws; pause - paws;
- General American /æ/: - ant
- Non-rhotic accents /ɔː/: sauce - source
- /ɑː,BrE æAmE/: draughtBrE (flow of air) - draft (rough version, flow of airAmE)
- astronaut /ˈæstrənɔːt,BrE AmE ˈæstrənɒtAmE/
- austerity /ɒˈsterəti,BrE ɔˈsterətiAmE BrE/
- Austin /ˈɒstɪn, ˈɔstɪn, ˈɔstən/
- Saudi /ˈsaʊdiː, ˈsɔdiː/
- sauna /ˈsɔnə, ˈsaʊnə/
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 * 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.