Ou

From Teflpedia

ʌ

young /jʌŋ/

group /gruːp/

out /aʊt/

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 "ou".

The sequence "ou" is sounded out as /aʊ/ in many words. Normally the phrase “the 'ou' [pronounced /əʊˈjuː/] sound” refers to /aʊ/.[1] However there are many exceptions.

/aʊ/[edit | edit source]

  • /aʊ/: about - account - amount - announce - around - background - blouse - bound - boundary - cloud - compound - council - counsel - count - county - discount - doubt - encounter - flounder - foul - found - founder - ground - house - loud - mount - mountain - mouse - mouth - noun - out - outcome - output - pound - profound - proud - round - scout - shout - sound - south - surround - thousand - trout - wound (verb wind)
  • /aʊə/: flour - hour - our (unstressed /ɑːr/) - sour

/uː/[edit | edit source]

  • cantaloupeBrE - coupon - group - rouge - route - soup - toucan - through - wound (injure, v. & n.) - you - youth

/ʊ/[edit | edit source]

  • could - should - would

/ʌ/[edit | edit source]

  • country - couple - cousin - double - southern - touch - trouble - young
  • with "ough": enough - rough - tough

/ʌ/ or /ɜː/[edit | edit source]

The following words are pronounced with /ʌr/ in British English and /ɜːr/ in American English. See also IPA phoneme /ɜː/ § /ɜː/ and /ʌ/.

  • courage - nourish

/ɜː/[edit | edit source]

  • courteous - journalist - journey

/əʊ/[edit | edit source]

  • although - boulder - cantaloupeAmE - dough - shoulder - soul - thoroughAmE - though

/ɔː/[edit | edit source]

  • bought - brought - course - court - fought - four - ought - pour - sought - source - thought - your
  • tour: Although the dictionary pronunciation of this word is /tʊər/[2] many native speakers actually say /tɔ:r/. Likewise, dour can be pronounced /dʊər/ or /ˈdaʊər/.[3]

/ə/[edit | edit source]

  • thoroughBrE
  • thoroughly
  • With "ous": anxious - continuous - curious - dangerous - enormous - famous - nervous - numerous - obvious - previous - religious - serious - various
  • With "our",BrE "or"AmE: behaviour - colour - favour - favourite - harbour - honour - humour (but humorist) - labour - neighbour

/ɒ/[edit | edit source]

  • cough /kɒf,BrE kɔːfAmE/
  • Gloucester /ˈɡlɒstər, ˈɡlɔːstərAmE/

/ʊə/[edit | edit source]

  • Missouri

Two different syllables[edit | edit source]

  • /əʊ ə/: Antinous (favourite of Roman emperor Hadrian)

Variant pronunciations[edit | edit source]

  • /ə,BrE əʊAmE/: borough - thorough
  • /uː,BrE, əʊAmE/: cantaloupe
  • route /ruːt/, also /raʊt/AmE

Homophones[edit | edit source]

  • /aʊ/: aloud - allowed; council - counsel;
  • /aʊə/: flour - flower; our - hour;
  • /uː/: route - root;
  • /ʊ/: would - wood;
  • our /ɑːr, ˈaʊər/ - are /ər, ɑːr/

Non-rhotic accents only

  • /ɔː/court - caught; source - sauce

Minimal pairs[edit | edit source]

  • bought - boat; dough - though; foul - full; mouse - moose/mousse; noun - nun/none

Heteronyms[edit | edit source]

  • wound: injury /wuːnd/ - past tense of wind /waʊnd/

Spanish L1[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. YouTube, ou words
  2. tour Collins Dictionaries. Retrieved 21st January 2013.
  3. dour Collins Dictionaries. Retrieved 21st January 2013.