Absurdities of English spelling

2: Phonetic values of "heteric" vowel combinations

Most combinations of vowel symbols in the present "heteric" (Ellis's term, meaning "belonging to another system") spelling have more than one phonetic value in any given accent of English. Some have numerous possible sound values. The following list was compiled with the help of Ellis, Plea for Phonetic Spelling, 1848. Phonetic values are given for British RP only.

(Note that, at least in the case of RP, if not of other accents, the list could be made still more ample by the inclusion of the combinations in r: ar in start, eer in beer etc., even ire in fire.)

a: [ei] in hating, [a:] in father, [o:] in water, [e] in many, [æ] in hat, [o] in want, [] in brilliant, [e] in various, [i] in village

ae: [i:] in minutiae, [e] in aerial, [ei] in Israel

ai: [ei] in sail, [e] in said, [æ] in plait, [eii] in dais, [ai] in aisle, [aii:] in naive

ao: [ei] in gaol, [eio] in chaos, [u] in pharaoh

au: [ei] in gauging, [a:] in aunt, [o:] in haul, [u] in chauffeur, [o] in laurel

aw: [o:] in awful

ay: [ei] in pray, [e] in says

e: [i:] in be, [i] in pretty, [e] in let, [] in open

ea: [i:] in heal, [ei] in great, [i] in guineas, [e] in head, [i:æ] in react, [i] in area, [i:ei] creator

eau: [u] in beau, [ju:] in beautiful

ee: [i:] in feet, [i] breeches

ei: [i:] in conceive, [ei] in veil, [i] in forfeit

eo: [i:] in people, [u] yeoman, [i] in galleon, [e] in leopard, [] in dungeon, [i:] in theologian, [i:o] in theology

eu: [ju:] in feud, [i:ju:] in reunion

ew: [u] in sew, [u:] in brew, [ju:] in new

ey: [i:] in key, [ei] in they, [i] in turkey, [ai] in eying

i: [i] in sin, [ai] in bind, [j] in onion

ia: [] in parliament, [iei] in mediate, [i] in carriage, [aiei] in hiatus, [iæ] in triviality, [j] in Britannia

ie: [i:] in grief, [i] in sieve, [e] in friend, [ai] in lie, [i:i] in earliest, [ai] in science, [] in conscience

ieu: [u:] in lieu, [ef] (!) in lieutenant

iew: [ju:] in view

io: [] in motion, [iu] in mediocre, [io] in mediocrity, [ai] in violation, [aio] in ionic, [j] in million

o: [u] in go, [u:] in do, [i] in women, [o] in on, [] in son, [u] in woman, [] in colonel

oa: [o:] in broad, [u] in coal, [uei] in oasis, [uæ] in coagulate

oe: [i:] in foetus, [u] in doe, [u:] in shoe, [] in does, [ui] in poet

oeu: [u:] in manoeuvre

oi: [wa:] in chamois, [] in connoisseur, [oi] in noisy, [ui] in stoic, [u:i] in doing

oo: [u] in brooch, [u:] in brood, [] in flood, [u] in wood, [u:] in zoological, [u:o] in zoology

ou: [o:] in ought, [u] in soul, [u:] in soup, [o] in cough, [] in doubling, [u] in would, [au] in noun, [] in various

ow: [u] in know, [o] in knowledge, [au] in now

oy: [oi] in boy

u: [u:] in rule, [i] in busy, [e] in bury, [] in cut, [u] in pull, [ju:] in using, [w] in persuade

ua: [a:] in guard, [wei] in persuasion, [wa:] in guano

uay: [i:] in quay

ue: [u:] in true, [e] in guess, [u] in cruel, [ju] in duel

eue: [u:] in queue

ui: [i:] in mosquito, [u:] in fruit, [i] in build, [ai] in guiding, [wi] in languid, [wi:] in suite, [u:i] in fruition

uoy: [oi] in buoy

y: [i] in marry, [:] in myrrh, [ai] in fly

ye: [ai] in dye, [ai:] in hyena

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James Chandler 1999.