/ɔ:/ sound title

How to teach the long /ɔ:/ sound

The /ɔ:/ sound is one of the symbols of the International Phonetics Association’s (IPA). It is the seventh sound in the list of vowels or the English Sound System. It is produced with rounded lips.  Like the long ‘e’, and /a:/ it is a universal sound. In Nigeria, all the major dialects have the vowel, so it is not a difficult sound for Nigerians to articulate. Each time you say “or” you say the sound.

As has also been noted with the long ‘e’ and /a:/, the difference between the English /ɔ:/and the /ɔ/in our dialects’ is the variation in length. The English /ɔ:/is a long sound and so it is always loud.


 How to teach the /ɔ:/ sound to beginning learners

Step one:

Show an item that contains the /ɔ:/sound. Use an item everyone is familiar with. For example, a picture of a  sword.


Step two:

Ask if anyone can spell the word. After the word is spelt underline the letters ‘or’ in the word and ask if anyone can say it.


Step three:

Explain that the letters ‘or’ says /ɔ:/and write out the vowel . Give other word examples (corn, form, torn) and explain that when the learners see the ‘or’ in words, it will most likely say /ɔ:/.


Step four:

Ask the learners to supply more /ɔ:/word examples. They will supply a mix of words. Some are spelt with other letters; some may not contain the vowel. Use a dictionary to show them how to confirm whether a word has the vowel or not.


Step five:

Have the learners say /ɔ:/in isolation and then practice writing it down in their notebooks.


Other Word Examples for the /ɔ:/ sound

The /ɔ:/ sound has at least nine spelling variants. These include a, ar, au, al, o, or, our, oar.  Some word examples are shown below.


paw /pɔ:/                                                    sword /sɔ:d/


warm /wɔ:m/                                              daughter /dɔ:tә/


walk  /wɔ:k/                                                mall /mɔ:l/


floral /flɔ:rә//                                               board  /bɔ:d/


poor /pɔ:/                                                      flour /flɔ:/

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