PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Taught, thought, caught... more pronunciation in our English for Lunch

Last week, in English for lunch, we continued tackling tricky English pronunciation.

 As we've seen before, English spelling sometimes indicates a previous stage of the English language. The way we write a word might show how it was pronounced by English people centuries ago.

We focused on words written with -augh/-ough, such as 'thought', tough', 'caught' and 'though'. Students normally try to read out these words producing a great variety of sounds, but what's happened is that, despite the spelling, spoken language has changed and they sound very different from what learners might expect.

With the help of a phonemic chart, let's take a look at some of the common sounds we use with these words nowadays:

thought /θɔːt/ 
caught /kɔːt/ 
daughter /ˈd ɔːtə/ 

tough /tʌf / 
rough /rʌf/ 
laugh /lɑːf/ 

though /ðəʊ/ 

thorough /ˈθʌrə/ 

We can see that the first two are the most common sounds / ɔː/ and /ʌf/. 

However, when in doubt, always check how we pronounce these words. (Cambridge dictionary is a good resource as it gives you the written pronunciation and you can also listen to it:

Next Thursday, we will carry on dealing with difficult pronunciation. Don't miss it!

Until then, can you figure out how to say the following (very random) sentence: I thought there weren't enough people coughing in Loughborough though. See ya!
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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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