the last 2 vowels

There are 2 sounds left that don’t have a single-letter spelling, but the situation is not as bad as ‘aa’ or ‘dh,’ in that they are always written as digraphs.

spellingIPAas in …
oiɒɪcoil, join, hoist
ouæʊabout, oust, flour

That’s about all there is to be said about them. The 1st is often spelled ‘oy’ (‘coy,’ ‘boy,’ ‘ahoy’) and the 2nd ‘ow’ (‘how now, brown cow’), but it’s useful to keep the universe of vowels separate from the the universe of consonants.

We have one last problem to solve. What happens when 2 vowels are consecutive? We can’t just write them in order, because that would lose information. How do we spell words like ‘acuity,’ ‘area,’ ‘biology,’ ‘chaos’? We could use the separator we use for consonants, and end up with ‘acu‘ity,’ ‘are‘a,’ ‘bi‘ology,’ ‘cha‘os,’ but this gives an awful lot of scratchy little marks on the page. Instead we can add a “glide consonant,” ‘w’ or ‘y,’ depending on the previous vowel, to separate them. This gives us ‘acuwity,’ ‘areya,’ ‘biyology,’ ‘cayos,’ a clear win.

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