The broad sound of o and the third sound of u are identical.
We hear this sound in works like do, move, flute, and rude. In addition to o and u, the phonograms oo, ou, and ui also represent this sound: soon, soup, suit.
In pronunciation keys, such as on the back of the Basic Phonogram Flash Cards, we represent this sound with the symbol /ö/. This is the symbol you will see in LOE materials whenever we are discussing the sound. For those familiar with IPA, it is the phoneme /uː/.
However, when we are teaching students to analyze words and mark them in order to better understand their spelling, we need to add a symbol to the existing letter in the word, not replace the letter with a different letter or symbol. So in this context, which marking you add will depend on which phonogram you are marking.
Example 1: u saying /ö/
Since u is making one of its long sounds in this word, we mark it with a macron (straight line):
Example 2: o saying /ö/
Since o is making its broad sound in this word, we mark it with an umlaut (two dots):
Example 3: ou saying /ö/
Since the phonogram ou is making its third sound in this word, we write a three over it. The consonants and multi-letter phonograms do not have standard markings associated with their different sounds like the single-letter vowels do, so when one of them is saying a sound besides its first (most common) sound, we mark it with a number indicating which of its sounds is heard in that word.
Note: For those new to LOE and unfamiliar with these phonograms,
- We teach three sounds of the phonogram o: /ŏ-ō-ö/ as in on, go, do.
- We teach four sounds of the phonogram u: /ŭ-ū-ö-ü/ as in up, pupil, flute, put. The second and the third sounds of u are both long sounds. The first long sound is the name of the letter and is heard in the word pupil. The second long sound is similar but does not have the /y/ sound at the beginning of it; it is heard in the word flute.
See and hear all 75 basic phonograms on our interactive phonogram chart!