This is a “short” or “checked” vowel sound, so is always followed by a consonant.

oo as in look

u as in put

oul as in could

o as in woman

ou as in tour

orce as in Worcestershire

6 responses to “oo”

  1. Febin says:

    Wool is it short or long oo?

    • Karuna says:

      According to my resources it is short. The long sound of oo spells moon, soon etc.
      Also its harder to stretch the short sound out over 30 seconds or so, thus short length of time.
      The long oo in moon can be stretched out longer (if you take a big breath beforehand) and
      thus it is long. Hope that helps.

  2. alison says:

    “Short” and “long” are kind of misnomers because the “short” sounds are not shorter-in-time versions of the “long” sounds, they are completely different sounds. The reason the “short” sounds are perceived as short is that they must always be followed by a consonant. You can’t have the vowels in “hat”, “wet”, “big”, “hot”, “bus” or “put” at the end of a syllable or word. In linguistics they are called “checked vowels”.

  3. Samantha Bond says:

    Hi there Alison, I think our Aussie accent is playing havoc again here. In words like, pool, cool stool etc I know you have them listed under the oo as in boot. My Aussie slang wants to put them in this list, along with school. When I say pull and pool, I do hear a slight difference but only just. What are your thoughts on this?
    Looking forward to your insights, 🙂

    • alison says:

      Hi Samantha, that’s a very good question, and I think the answer (as far as I know, there might be a better one) is that /l/ colours the preceding vowel more than other consonants, so sometimes before /l/ it’s hard to tell the difference between what from a spelling POV should be vowel minimal pairs like pull/pool, full/fool, pole/poll, dole/doll, role/roll, etc. If we have trouble, imagine how kids with poor PA feel about this! Alison

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