2 ways to pronounce double 'o'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Oldriska, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Oldriska New Member

    Hi,

    Could anyone please explain why is there a pronounciation difference of the 'oo' in "blood"/"flood" on one hand and "book"/"food" on the other? I don't seem to be able to find a plausible answer in the history of the English language.

    Thank you!
     
  2. ><FISH'> Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    British English
    Blood and Flood are always "Blud" and "Flud" (short vowels). "Book" is usually "Buk" however some people in the UK say "Bewk". "Food" is usually "Fewd", however again some people in the UK will say "Fud".
     
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Oldriska - welcome to the forums!

    Actually, you've got three different vowel sounds there in many (most?) varieties of English:
    (1) blood/flood
    (2) book
    (3) food.

    On the phonology, you might find this Wiki article interesting: Phonological history of English high back vowels.

    I'll see if I can find something on the co-incident spelling, and will come back if I do:).
     
  4. ><FISH'> Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    British English
    Are you sure about that? "Book" seems to me to have the same vowel as the first two.
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Ir depends where you're from, Fish.

    "Blood" has the same vowel sound as "luck"; "book" has the same vowel sound as "look". In RP, for example, "luck" and "look" don't rhyme:).
     
  6. For me, food rhymes with rude.

    Rover
     
  7. Oldriska New Member

    Thank you all for your replies.

    Loob, the Wiki link is great - thanks for sharing it!
     
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Oldriska, it might be worth bearing in mind that English spelling often records the pronunciation 600 years ago. And at that time, blood, flood, food and book would have all been pronounced with the same vowel. However, pronunciations have changed since then, so the spellings are a little unhelpful for learners of English today!

    By Shakespeare's time, all of these words had the 'oo' vowel as in food (the traditional vowel with the lips rounded, not the fewd pronunciation mentioned by Fish). What happened was that the vowels of blood and flood shortened in the 16th century and had the vowel sound of put. Accents in southern England changed this sound to the one in putt.

    Book, look and foot, however, had the shortening occurring later, and the put vowel remained, and did not change to the putt vowel.

    And food did not shorten its vowel.
     
  9. ragazzo323 New Member

    Italian
    Actually, you've got four sounds:
    ʊ e.g. book
    ʌ e.g. blood
    uː e.g. moon
    oʊ/əʊ e.g. brooch
     
  10. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Thanks, ragazzo. I think brooch is a special case, and had the spelling altered (unlike the other examples). Here's the OED etymology:
    Biffo, I still use the hyphen in co-ordinate and co-operate.
     
  11. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    Apologies for the accidental deletion. I'll repeat my previous post.

     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  12. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    Okay, I'll add a different fifth (and possibly a sixth) pronunciation :p

    "door"

    "poor" (Some people rhyme this with "dor" but others say it with a dipthong! - poor/pʊə; pɔː/)

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
    EDIT - another (different) dipthong is in "coordinate". Like cooperate, this can be hyphenated but the sounds are different.

    Also "zoology" has yet another dipthong sound but I don't think anyone would hyphenate it.

    Plus a few technical words like oocyte
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  13. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    For door, floor, poor and moor - there have been more recent change.

    You might occasionally hear to old diphthong for door dɔə and floor flɔə. The most common now is just with ɔː

    Poor and moor is moving from ʊə to ɔː ​as Biffo as indicated.
     

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