The Vowel Sounds in NBC English

Robert Boden
November 15, 2003

I propose that the following list be considered a standard representation for the pronunciation of vowel sounds in NBC English. It could serve as a guide for those who are attempting to produce respell systems intended for the widest possible market with the least complexity.  Knowledge of English is assumed.  It is also assumed that if a person does not pronounce the words in the parenthesis as they are pronounced in NBC English the discrepancy is likely to show up by a finding that the words to the right do not all have the same vowel sounds.


The words in parentheses are unique in that they are shown with only one pronunciation in all my dictionaries.  The words at the right are, in my best judgment, all consistent with the vowel sound being represented.  The SRS words at the left of the parenthesis are not part of the standard.  They show just one way that the sounds may be consistently represented.


The Vowel Sounds in NBC English:

-----, SRS


Short Vowels

-----, pat, (cat, matter) and, that, had, can, an, has, than, have, back, after, ask, land, man              
-----, pet, (met, red) when, said, then, them, help, any, tell, set, end, well, went, men, spell
-----, pit, (fill, sit) in, it, with, him, its, his, this, which, if, into, did, give, big, still, will
-----, pot, (cop, lock) not, cot, tot, rot, got, stop, body, top, rock, box, hot, drop, job, clock
-----, pup, (upper, o'possum) up, some, come, such, study, us, country, untie, cut, run, sun

-----, peut, (pudding, bush) good, took, book, pull, wood, stood, could, push, foot, would

Long Vowels


-----, pe, (mate, bait) way, day, may, make, they, take, place, great, same, came, change, play
-----, ve, (previous, penal) he, we, these, be, she, see, me, mean, need, three, keep, tree, each
-----, pne, (pint, fine) by, like, my, find, write, right, why, try, kind, line, high, while, life, mile     
-----, de, (code, donate) so, no, go, most, old, show, own, don't, those, grow, both, low, hold
-----, cle, (lute, rue) you, who, two, do, through, too, move, food, school, soon, group, room

-----, (cost, lost) naught, caught, taught, wrought, walk, talk, ought, sought, paw, raw, law
-----, ur, (curd, fur) word, work, turn, world, girl, bird, sure, during, heard, person, surface


Diphthongs and Combinations or Compounds
-----, ou, (out, found) now, down, how, sound, house, south, ground, round, pound, count
-----, oi, (void, voice) oil, boy, point, soil, join, toy, coin, avoid, poison, noise, poise, foil, toil


-----, ar, (part, far) are, large, start, hard, car, farm, arm, heart, art, army, park, chart, march
-----, err, (error, terrace) there, their, very, air, carry, area, care, pair, paragraph, hair, dare
-----, irr, (irrigate, mirror) year, here, near, ear, fear, dear, rear, pier, tear, appear, peer, deer      
-----, or, (cord, lord) for, door, short, north, course, force, store, floor, board, born, score, nor

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