Decoding exercises: "au"

From Teflpedia

ɔː

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/.

IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
e
dress face square
ɪ ɪə
kit fleece near
ɒ əʊ ɔː
lot goat taught
ʊ ʊə
foot goose mature
juː jʊə
cute cure
ʌ ə ɜː
strut comma nurse
ɔɪ
price mouth choice
IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see
IPA Stress
ˈ Primary stress
hotel /həʊˈtel/
ˌ Secondary stress
understand
/ˌʌndərˈstænd/
IPA Syllabification
. nitrate /ˈnaɪ.treɪt/, night-rate /ˈnaɪt.reɪt/

Examples[edit]

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]

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

Spelling anomalies[edit]

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

The word "because"[edit]

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]

Variant pronunciatons[edit]

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

Spanish L1[edit]

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 [ˌaʊtomaˌtiθaˈθjon] or [ˌaʊtomaˌtisaˈsjon], and it is very common to hear Spanish speakers saying */ˌaʊtəˈmeɪʃən/ instead of /ˌɔːtəˈmeɪʃən/. 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]

  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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]