The letters "oo" can represent several different vowel sounds. This letter combination is most commonly used for vowel /u/. Next most common is vowel /ʊ/. Below find a list of the most frequently used words with "oo." Since the most frequent accent error pattern for these sounds is to use /u/ instead of /ʊ/, I recommend learning the words with /ʊ/. Note that several of these words serve as suffixes in longer words (for example: hood - neighborhood, adulthood; wood - firewood, deadwood; etc.).
Use the recording and list below to test your listening - can you tell which vowel sound is in the word? Consider writing the words using /u/ or /ʊ/ as you listen. Check your work with the lists above.
Sometimes, a consonant sound at the end of the word functions as a syllabic consonant. That is to say, it has its own syllable, and functions as a vowel and a consonant. This occurs most commonly with L /l/ and N /n/, but also in some cases with M /m/ and NG /ŋ/.
These syllabic consonants sound like /əl/, /ən/ and /əm/ with a very short unstressed schwa (uh) sound before it. Here are some frequently used words with syllabic l, n and m:
In fluent speech, we don't say each word separately. Let's look at three common statements and how we link and reduce words in connected speech.
We don't say I /ate/ out/ this/ weekend/, we say
I ay-dout this weekend.
Ate and out are linked, and the t becomes more of a d -
The t on out is stopped, it sounds like ate out, not ate ouT.
In the statement "The meeting is in her office," we contract the word is, meeting's, not meeting is.
We link is, in, and her. The h drops out. it sounds like zinner, meeting-zinner office.
We don't say I/ need/ to/ tell/ you/ about/ it,
we say "I need-duh tell you abou-dit."
Need and to are linked. The d is stopped and the t becomes more of a d. Need-duh. The pure /u/ vowel becomes reduced to vowel schwa /ə/. Need-duh.
About and it are linked. The t becomes more of a d, abou-dit. The final t is stopped, abou-dit, not about iT.
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How to use this page
Find your target sound. Listen to the words. Repeat each word until you are confident in your pronunciation. Use your recording tool to record the sample and your word. Playback and compare. Repeat until your production matches the sample.