The English Alphabet
All the vowels, and some of the consonants, have several sounds in the English language.
a, as in bad, bag, bat.
e, as in bed, beg, bet.
i, as in bid, big, bit.
o, as in odd, bog, fog.
u, as in bud, bug, hut.
a, as in face, fate, fame.
e, as in me, we, see.
i, as in pine, mind, child.
o, as in no, go, note.
u, as in tune, mute, tube.
a, as in bar, far, car.
a, as in ask, class, last.
a, as in her, err, earn.
Long oo, as in coo, too, moon.
Short oo, as in book, cook, rook.
oi, as in oil, toil.
oy, as in hoy, toy, boy.
ou, as in our, out.
ow, as in cow, how.
EQUIVALENTS, EACH TO EACH
a, as in liar, friar.
e, as in her.
i, as in fir, sir, bird.
o, as in word, work, worm.
u, as in urn, urge, burn.
y, as in myrtle.
a = o in odd, as in wad, was, wand
e = a in fade, as in they, eight
o = oo in coo, as in do, to, move
o = oo in book, as in wolf, woman
u = oo in coo, as in rule, rude, runic.
a, in air, care, correlative of a in at.
a, long in all, ball, awl, correlative of o in odd.
Long a, day, aid, they, veil, break, gauge.
Italian a, aunt, heart, guard, sergeant, bazaar.
a (in care), pair, pear, prayer, there, their, Aaron.
a (in all), awl, fraud, bought, broad, awe.
Long e, eat, beef, chief, deceive, marine, key, people.
Short e, bread, said, any, heifer, leopard, friend, guest/says.
Long i, by, die, guide, height, buy, aisle, my, eye, bayou.
Short i, lynx, duties, build, certain, busy, pretty, been, women, foreign, carriage, tortoise.
Long o, boat, blow, four, foe, door, sew, beau, yeoman.
Short o, was, wadding, knowledge.
Long oo, do, shoe, group.
Long u, you, yew, ewe, beauty, view, lieu, neuter, juice, hue.
Short u, son, touch, blood, does, porpoise, cushion, dungeon, righteous, gracious.
u (in rule), grew, true, fruit.
We also have a number of digraphs or combinations of vowels or consonants which have but one sound:
ai in rain
eo as in people
ou as in soup
ou as in soul
ph as in phalanx
ch as in chorus or chair
c has two sounds, hard before a, o, and u, as in cat, cot, and cut, and soft before e, i, and y, as in cell, city, and cycle.
g has two sounds, hard before a, o, and u, as in gate, gone, and gun, soft before e, i, and y, as in gem, gin, and gyve, although it is sometimes hard before i as in girl.
ch is sometimes soft as in chair and arch, and sometimes hard as in choir.
th has two sounds, soft, or surd, as in thin and death, and hard, or sonant, as in then and smooth.
s has two sounds, soft, or surd, as in soft and this, and hard, or sonant, as in has and wise.
We have, therefore, twenty-six letters to help us express fifty or more sounds, not counting the digraphs and diphthongs.
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