How to pronounce route?

Sometimes route can pronouced like ‘r?t’ and sometiems like 'raut. What is the difference between both version? Thank you

no difference just the way you are brought up, i pronounce route like root i dont know all those funky symbols haha

English is a weird language. The combination ou can have how many different pronunciations?


Who is responsible for this mess :slight_smile: ?

Anyway, thank you for trying to make it a bit easier for us…

That’s what I’d like to know, too!!

By the way, as far as I know, there are still four more different sounds for ‘ou’ (please don’t pull your hair out in despair!):

[u] as in ‘would’ (short u)
[o:] as in ‘course’
[9u] as in ‘soul’
[9] as in ‘sonorous’

Both ‘route’ and ‘wound’ have the same [u:] sound. With some accents (and the way I pronounce it) it sounds like your ‘?’. Yet [raut] would be for ‘rout’ (to defeat completely; to search).

Hi Conchita,

Delighted to see a picture of you after all this time. And even though I’m superannuated, I hope I’m allowed to say a very charming pic, too.


The ball got rolling with the French. Before 1066, the sound [u] was spelled with a U in English. The Norman French conquered England, and during that time, they began to spell [u] as OU, the way it is spelled in French.

Then there was The Great Vowel Shift. Around 1500, once printers had more or less standardized English spelling, pronunciation of the long vowels suddenly changed. You can certainly find a chart of it on the Internet, but the long vowels formed a big conga line and moved into each other’s space. So, among other things, what was [o:] became [u:], and what was [u:] became [au]. Now, the OU that used to be a long [u] sound is now usually pronounced as [au], as in “house” and “mouse”, while the one that represented a short vowel either stays [u] or gets reduced even more to [^].

Then there’s the problem of foreign words entering the language after the vowel shift, and still retaining their original vowel pronunciation.

It’s a mess, but it happened completely naturally.

English is just darned funny like that.

in Canada some Canadians pronounce “out” as “oot” and “about” as “aboot” - not all of us, but some do. It’s not sure where it came from… but it’s there!

Actually, Canadians don’t really say “oot” and “aboot”. That sounds like someone from the States trying to imitate a Canadian.

What’s really going on is a process called “Canadian raising”, where the [a] in the diphthongs [ai] and [au] becomes a schwa before a voiceless consonant. So for “out” they say [^ut] and for “about” they say [^b^ut]. In Michigan most people have the [ai] version, but not the [au] version of Canadian raising.

This way of pronouncing diphthongs is typically Scottish, too. At least, in Glasgow they do and they say them very quickly. Also, eye becomes e’e , old is auld [o:ld] and they eat their t’s, among other regional characteristics – how I like their warm, musical brogue! I’ve never been there, but I know a few natives.

Shall we ‘gau’ [go:] to the ‘pob’ ‘toneyt’? (trying to convey an accent in writing is quite a challenge!) is one of their favourite sentences and the one I often use when I go about imitating them – always in a loving way, of course :slight_smile: .

actually, I am Canadian and have heard some of my peeps use it… strangely enough!

however, if you want to hear a thick accent head over to Newfoundland and listen to the people there speak! It’s beautiful and poetic… and still hard to understand!