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Why is door pronounced as in 'o' not as in 'u' ?

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Related: Written English Vowels are Odd –  RegDwigнt Apr 18 '11 at 21:10
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A better question might be, why is the word pronounced dôr spelled with two Os? I think a big chunk of "why" questions about language are unanswerable. –  Malvolio Apr 18 '11 at 21:11
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"Dearest creature in creation, study English pronunciation ...". Pronunciation changed over time, while spelling remained the same. –  teylyn Apr 18 '11 at 21:17
    
There is already a word dour that's pronounced like that. It would be confusing! –  z7sg Ѫ Apr 18 '11 at 21:29
    
@z7sg: you mean like "read" and "red"? Or perhaps "read" and "reed"? :-) –  DCookie Apr 18 '11 at 21:44

3 Answers 3

Because door is one of those words that have two O's because people thought that would make the O sound longer. Meaning longer in duration. In Old English the word was spelled dor with a long O. There was no character to write that kind of long O, so they figured the double O would make people hold the duration longer. Maybe it worked for a time, but obviously it failed somewhere over the past 1,000 years.

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All of the old words spelled with "oo" originally were pronounced with a long [o:] sound, but were raised to [u:] during the Great Vowel Shift. This answer doesn't address the central issue of why the vowel was raised in e.g. "fool" and "room" (and most others) but not in "door" (or "poor" in some dialects). –  Kosmonaut Apr 18 '11 at 23:22
    
@Kosmonaut: Also note floor, etc., but I take your point. My response also doesn't explain flood and other variations. –  Robusto Apr 19 '11 at 1:42
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Also hood, which is yet another vowel: /ʊ/ (while flood is /ʌ/). –  Kosmonaut Apr 19 '11 at 1:52

It comes from middle english dore. The pronunciation of the word didn't change so much, but as spelling rules changed, it's spelling naturally had to change.

There are other words that are formed in a similar way from middle english spelling; more -> moor, povre -> poor.

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Short Answer: There are two sounds for "oo". One is more like "Ô" and the other is the longer sound.

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