The “OH” Diphthong (No, Low, Go)
Diphthongs are sounds that contain two sounds within one syllable. This means that if you clap for each syllable while you say these words, the diphthong would be part of just one clap. In this article, let’s take a look at the “OH” diphthong in English. It’s pronounced as /oʊ/ in American English and /əʊ/ in British English.
How to pronounce the “oh” diphthong
To make the /oʊ/ diphthong sound, you will need to know how to make the separate sounds of /o/ as in the Spanish and Italian word “bosco” (forest), and /ʊ/, as in “wolf” and “bull”, shortly after each other. In a diphthong, the sound slides from the one sound, in this case the /o/ to the /ʊ/. When producing this sound, you may notice that your lips start to form a tight circle as you move from the /o/ sound to the /ʊ/ sound.
Examples of the “oh” diphthong
We commonly use this sound in American English, as an /aʊ/ sound. However, for a British English pronunciation, we pronounce this as a /əʊ/ diphthong, a schwa followed by a /ʊ/.
The /oʊ/ sound can be created in multiple ways, including by writing o, o plus “magic e”, ol, oa, oe, ow, ou, au.
American Eng. British Eng.
- Both /boʊθ/ /bəʊθ/
- Alone /əˈloʊn/ /əˈləʊn/
- Control /kənˈtroʊl/ /kənˈtrəʊl/
- Approach /əˈproʊtʃ/ /əˈprəʊtʃ/
- Goes /goʊs/ /gəʊs/
- Know /noʊ/ /nəʊ/
- Soul /soʊl/ /səʊl/
- Taupe /toʊp/ /təʊp/
For more on diphthongs, check out these articles:
- Introduction To Diphthongs
- /ɔɪ/ (Choice/Voice/Noise)
- /eɪ/ (Face/Make/Cake)
- /aɪ/ (Rice/Die/Bike)
- /aʊ/ (Out/Cow/South)
- /eə/ (Bear, Square, Mare) (British English)
- /ɪə/ (Ear/Here/Near) (British English)
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