In this lesson, we're gonna work on 'double letters' and how we can pronounce them. You're still interested in learning more, aren't you?

Pronunciation of Double Letters

In this lesson, we will learn how the same letters (normally two), whether consonants or vowels, stand together and create double letters. Meanwhile, we will examine how the pronunciation of double letters might change.

Categories of Double Letters

  1. Double Consonants
  2. Double Vowels

1. Double Consonants

The most common double consonants are 'ss, ll, cc, tt, rr, and pp.' Double consonants can be divided into two categories:

Double Consonants & the Same Sound

1.1 The largest category is when double consonants stand together without any change in the pronunciation. For example, 'rr' in the word diarrhea sounds /r/ even if this word takes one 'r'. This phenomenon might go back to the written rules of old English. Some linguists believe that in a few decades, double consonants with the same sound will disappear.

  • rr

diarrhea /ˌdaɪ.əˈriː.ə/

arranger /əˈreɪn.dʒɚ/

  • ss

assessor /əˈses.ɚ/

fussy /ˈfʌs.i/

  • ff

offensive /əˈfen.sɪv/

afford /əˈfɔːrd/

Double Consonants & Two Different Sounds

1.2 Another group is when two consonants stand together and produce two different sounds, like 'cc'. The reason is that the consonant itself has two main sounds. For example:

access /ˈæk.ses/

accident /ˈæk.sə.dənt/

accept /əkˈsept/

accent /ˈæk.sənt/

Tip

However, 'cc' also sounds /k/ when each 'c' is in a separate syllable. To know more, go back to the rule number one:

soccer /ˈsɑː.kɚ/

acclimatize /əˈklaɪ.mə.t̬aɪz/

2. Double Vowels

Vowels can also stand together to make a double vowel. The most common double vowels are ee and oo. Here is the summary of these two double vowels:

ee

'ee' mainly sounds /i:/ and it can stand at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a word:

tree /triː/

feet /fiːt/

eel /iːl/

'ee' also sounds /ɪə/:

cheer /tʃɪər/

engineering /ˌen.dʒɪˈnɪər.ɪŋ/

pioneering /ˌpaɪəˈnɪə.rɪŋ/

oo

'oo' in the middle of words mainly sounds /uː/:

tooth /tuːθ/

groom /ɡruːm/

spoon /spuːn/

'oo' in the middle of words also sounds short /ʊ/:

hook /hʊk/

took /tʊk/

book /bʊk/

'oo' in the middle of words sounds /ʌ/, only in these two words:

blood /blʌd/

flood /flʌd/

'oo' in the middle of words and always before 'r' can also sound /ɔ:/. So 'oor' always sounds /ɔːr/.

door /dɔːr/

floor /flɔːr/

moor /mɔːr/

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