Absurdities of English spelling

3: Heteric equivalents of English vowel sounds

The vowel sounds of English all have several different symbolizations in the present heteric orthography. The following list was compiled with the help of Ellis, Plea for Phonetic Spelling, 1848. The examples given relate to British RP.

[a:] a in father, au in aunt, ar in card, er in clerk, ear in heart, uar in guard

[e] a in many, ai in said, ay in says, e in let, ea in head, eo in leopard, ie in friend, u in bury, ue in guess

[i] e in pretty, ea in guineas, ee in breeches, ei in forfeit, i in pit, ia in marriage, ie in sieve, o in woman, u in busy, ui in build, y in physics, ey in money

[o] a in want, au in laurel, o in on, ou in cough, ow in knowledge

[u] o in woman, oo in wood, ou in would, u in bull

[æ] a in sat, ai in plait

[] u in humble, o in son, oe in does, oo in flood, ou in double

[i:] ae in minutiae, e in be, ea in each, eae in fleaed, ee in feet, ei in conceit, eo in people, ey in key, eye in keyed, oe in foetus, ie in grief, i in magazine, uay in quay, ui in mosquito

[o:] a in fall, aor in extraordinary, au in haul, aw in awful, or in fork, oa in broad, ou in ought

[u:] ew in brew, ewe in brewed, eu in rheumatic, o in do, oe in shoe, oeu in manoeuvre, oo in too, ooe in wooed, ou in soup, u in ruling, ue in true, ui in fruit, wo in two

[ai] a in naive, ai in aisle, ei in height, ey in eying, i in bind, ie in die, ui in guide, uy in buy, y in fly, ye in dye

[au] ou in noun, ow in cow, owe in allowed

[ei] a in mating, ai in pain, ao in gaol, au in gauging, ay in play, aye in played, ea in great, ei in veil, ey in they, eye in conveyed

[oi] oi in noisy, oy in boy, oye in enjoyed, uoy in buoy, uoye in buoyed

[u] ao in pharaoh, au in chauffeur, eau in beau, eo in yeoman, ew in sew, ewe in sewed, o in post, oa in oats, oe in doe, oo in brooch, ou in soul, ow in know

[] a in brilliant, eo in dungeon, io in cushion, o in motion, iou in conscious, oi in tortoise, eu in amateur, u in suffice, oa in cupboard, ou in viscous, e in condiment

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James Chandler 1999.