ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation | vowels

ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation :the “o” in go was originally an /ɑː/, while the “o” in do and to was originally an /oː/. So they were always different to begin with, and even the Great Vowel Shift could do nothing about it, because different vowels shifted into different directions.

ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation

Go and do happen to be spelled the same because in Middle English, the time period when much of the current English spelling system was formed, their vowels were fairly similar (/ɔː/ and /oː/ respectively), and there are not as many vowel letters in the alphabet as there are vowel sounds in English. But they have never been pronounced the same ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation.

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ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation

I’m not sure, but I think “to” and “do” are spelled that way because they are function words. According to Wiktionary, the Middle English ancestors of “do” and “go” were pronounced with /ɔː/ and /oː/, the vowels that became /oʊ̯/ as in “goat” and /uː/ as in “goose”. So based on modern English spelling conventions, we could expect “go” to be spelled as is, and “do” to be spelled “doo”. Why the shift? I suspect scribes truncated it based on the general notion that function words should be one or two letters long while content words should be three or more (this is also why “are” is spelled with a silent “e” even though it’s pronounced like “start” and not like “square”).

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ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation

આ સમજવા આ વિડીયો જુઓ

While it would be naive to believe English spelling represents English pronunciation, there are well enforced rules that govern their relationship, and ambiguities almost always have reasons behind them. I assume it was about these reasons that the OP wanted to learn when they asked the question.


Because the English language has co-opted words from many languages, and then corrupted/changed them over time we have a variety of pronunciation and spelling rules…which are not inflexible (compare the pronunciation of words by an Essex native with that of a Geordie, for example)

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There are general guidelines which do broadly work – as long as you know or can guess the origin of a word. Did it come from a Latin root, or one of the Germanic languages, or Norse etc.?


The original pronunciation of the word go was “goo”, so that it rhymed with “too”.ow as in ‘go’ | American English Pronunciation

The following text is from the book “A wife for a month” printed in London in 1717:


Since I am not an expert in the history of the English language, I cannot tell you why the pronunciation has changed from “goo” to “go”.


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