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  1. #1
    hagivn is offline Newbie
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    Exclamation Pronunciation: food vs good

    Dear teacher and friends,
    I have a question about the pronunciation of food and good.
    /fu:d/ vs /gʊd/
    Why _ood of food is pronounced u: and _ood of good is pronounced ʊ?

    Many thanks for your help.

    Best regards
    Huong, Tran

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    Welcome to the forum, hagivn.
    Quote Originally Posted by hagivn View Post
    Why is the '_ood' of 'food' is pronounced /u:/ and the '_ood' of 'good' is pronounced /ʊ/?
    That's just the way it is. English spelling has not reflected accurate pronunciation for centuries, I'm afraid.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Welcome to the forum, hagivn. That's just the way it is. English spelling has not reflected accurate pronunciation for centuries, I'm afraid.
    ...But it once did (or tried to in an inconsistent way).

    b

  4. #4
    hagivn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    I'm not sure f_ or g_ impact on pronunciation on this case or not? So I must learn by lines, word by word for phonetic?

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    Good and goof have different pronunciations.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    There is no system at all. You just have to learn each word as it comes

    /u:/ - food, boot, cool, google, moon
    /ʊ/ - look, good, wool, foot
    /ʌ/ - blood, flood
    /əʊ/ - brooch
    /ɔ:/ - door
    /əʊ'ɒ/ - cooperate
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    Quote Originally Posted by hagivn View Post
    ... So I must learn ... word by word for phonetic?
    'Afraid so. But the good news is that the job (relating sounds to spellings) gets easier and easier, because the most used 7500 words (what Macmillan dictionaries calls 'the red words') have many more exceptions - proportionally - than the next 7500. For example by far the most common pronunciation of the spelling 'au' is /ɔ:/. Words in the one dictionary I have counted (Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners) have this pronunciation 3 times more frequently than all the many others (either 6, or 7 if you include the 'eau' of 'beauty') put together - the problem for a student is that you'll need words like 'because' and 'aunt' long before you learn words like 'taut', 'haunch' or 'saunter'.

    Students who have been learning English for so long that they didn't need to refer to a dictionary for those last three words would have no trouble guessing the pronunciation of - say - 'paucity'.

    My Dictionary of Vowels and their Sounds (not yet published, and indeed not fully written yet, but the less time I spend on UsingEnglish the earlier will be its publication date ) will say more... (but don't hold your breath!)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 28-May-2012 at 11:54.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    'Afraid so. But the good news is that the job (relating sounds to spellings) gets easier and easier, because the most used 7500 words (what Macmillan dictionaries calls 'the red words') have many more exceptions - proportionally - than the next 7500.
    Even the 'oo' picture is not quite as black as I painted it.

    /u:/ - food, ......../ʊ/ - look......../ʌ/ - blood......../əʊ/ - brooch...../ɔ:/ - door........./əʊ'ɒ/ - cooperate
    /u:/ and../ʊ/ are far more common that all the others. This does not help you tell you which of the two a new word is likely to be, but at least you can fairly safely eliminate the others. 'ook' is more likely to be /ʊ/ then /u:/.

    ../ʌ/ is rare.

    '-oor' is usually ./ɔ:/ door for most speakers of BrE

    As far as I know, 'brooch' is the only example of ../əʊ/

    It is usually clear when the first two letters of a word beginning with 'coo' actually begin with the prefix 'co-'
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  9. #9
    hagivn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    I got it all. Many thanks!

  10. #10
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Pronunciation: food vs good

    Quote Originally Posted by hagivn View Post
    Why _ood of food is pronounced u: and _ood of good is pronounced ʊ?
    I'll try to say something about the origin of this difference. My knowledge is limited, so all I can offer is an outline.

    The spelling of "food", "good" and "blood" reflects their pronunciation in Middle English, which was /fo:d/, /go:d/ and /blo:d/ respectively. The Great Vowel Shift changed them to /fu:d/, /gu:d/ and /blu:d/. Then splittling started. For some reason, which I don't know, English speakers started to shorten the vowel in some of the "oo" words, but not all. "Food" and "mood" are among those which remained the same; "good", "blood", "flood" are examples of those which changed.

    However, the change didn't occur at the same time for all of them. "Blood" and "flood" became /blʊd/ and /flʊd/ earlier than "good" became /gʊd/. Because of that "blood" and "flood" were there when the so-called foot-strut split started.

    The foot-strut split was (and still is) about changing /ʊ/ to /ʌ/ in some words. (The history of this split is more complex than that, but it's rather irrelevant here.) For example, "cut", which was pronounuced /kʊt/, became /kʌt/. Again, this didn't occur for all words. "Put", for example, is still /pʊt/. But it did happen to "blood" and "flood" which were, as I said, /blʊd/ and /flʊd/ at that point. The foot-strut split changed them to /blʌd/ and /flʌd/.

    But, at the time the foot-strut split was happening, "good" was still /gu:d/, so the split didn't affect it. Later however, "good" underwent the change "blood" and "flood" had undergone earlier, and became /gʊd/, but it was too late for catching the foot-strut train and becoming /gʌd/.

    Interestingly, in Northern English and in the Midlands, the foot-strut split never occured (even though it's present in Scotland!), and so "good", "blood" and "flood" have the same vowel /ʊ/ in those accents.

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