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Revision as of 21:57, 26 August 2016 by (talk)
IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
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
price mouth choice

The letter combination "ae" has several different pronunciations; however the only common word is aeroplane (spelled airplane in American English). This article sets out some words teachers can use to help their students become more aware of the differences.

Words with a common spelling

  • As /eə/: aerialBrE - aerobics - aeroplaneBrE
  • As /ə/: Michael
  • As /iː/: algae, antennae (plural of antenna as part of an insect) - Caesar - larvae (plural of larva)
  • As /aɪ/: maestro - tae kwon do
  • As /eɪ/: Israel - Israeli - reggae
  • As /eɪ/, /iː/ or /ɪ/: sundae

As two separate sounds:

  • Israel: /ˈɪzriːəl/ (also /ˈɪzreɪl/)

Graeco-Latin words

Most words with "ae" are of Greek or Latin origin, and many of them are spelled or pronounced differently in British English and American English.

As /iː/

British spelling American spelling
aeolian eolian
anaemia anemia
archaeology archaeology, archeology
caesium cesium
encyclopedia, encyclopaedia encyclopedia
faeces feces
Graeco- Greco-
haemoglobin hemoglobin
hyena, hyaena hyena, hyaena
leukaemia leukemia
medieval, mediaeval medieval, mediaeval
orthopaedic, orthopedic orthopedic
paediatrician pediatrician
Palaeolithic Paleolithic


British spelling Br pr American spelling Am pr
aesthetic /iː, e/ aesthetic, esthetic /e/
anaesthesia /ə/ anesthesia /ə/
caesarean /ɪ/ caesarean, cesarean /ɪ/
gynaecologist /ə/ gynecologist /ə/
haemorrhage /e/ hemorrhage /e/

See also