In what case and why is letter 'o' pronounced as 'ʌ' like in the word 'cut' /kʌt/?

  • Done is pronounced /dʌn/ while other words of the kind are pronounced differently: lone, bone, tone.

Why is gone pronounced /ɡɒn/?

  • 1
    What do you mean for "Luke"? It is pronounced as /luːk/, with the same vowel as duke and nuke (all 3 words rhyme). Are you referring to the absence of the palatal glide /j/, which most British English speakers have in /djuːk/ and /njuːk/?
    – herisson
    Nov 24, 2016 at 7:49
  • @sumelic Exactly. It should be /ljuːk/ then. Nov 24, 2016 at 8:02
  • Formerly, people did say /ljuːk/. What happened is that /ljuː/ in stressed syllables has tended to be simplified to /luː/. In American English, this kind of simplification is more extensive: for example, I would pronounce these words /luːk/, /duːk/, /nuːk/ with no /j/ in any of them.
    – herisson
    Nov 24, 2016 at 8:13
  • @sumelic What about the word puke then? It reads /pjuːk/ in both Am.E and Br.E. Nov 24, 2016 at 8:18
  • 1
    @Rathony Thanks Sir. I'll ask about 'Luke' later. Nov 24, 2016 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


Why is gone spelled the same way as lone, when it's pronounced differently?

Because when English spelling was fixed, they were pronounced the same.

In Middle English, there was no fixed spelling of words. The spelling became fixed shortly after Shakespeare wrote.

Shakespeare treats the following words as if they all rhyme in his poems and sonnets:


The same sound change that affected on and gone seems to have also affected shone; it rhymes with gone in the U.K. and lone in the U.S.

On the other hand, this explanation doesn't work for the word done. The only rhymes Shakespeare has for done is sun (which he uses several times), begun, and run. One reason for the spelling of done might be to show the relation with the root word is do. Another reason might be that "u" and "n" are both letters composed of "minims" in Middle English script, and Middle English scribes sometimes replaced "u" with "o" in such words so they would be more readable. See this question.

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    English spelling has never been "fixed". It was broken from the start!
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 1, 2019 at 22:08

English is a mixing pot of other languages.

They have words from Latin, French, Dutch and many other langauges.

This is partially because of England's history of being conquered. Th influx of emmigrants also influenced the language.

The Norman invasion of England gave the english langauge words like beef (from the French word for cow), pork (from the French word for pig) and mutton (from the French word for sheep).

(Ivanhoe has a comical explanation of this in its first chapter.)

Dutch immigrants gave the English language many of its kn words, infact reading Chaucer's old english is much easier with a knowledge of the Dutch langauge.

(i.e. Chaucer's use of eek meaning also is a derivitave of the Dutch ook meaning the same thing.)

The Roman invasion will have contributed Latin words as did the fact that the langauge of Catholic bibles etc. was Latin.

Botanical names are in Latin to this day. Many scientific words and terms have different pronounciations because they have latin and greek origins.

Words starting or having a ph in them are often scientific and have Greek origins. (Thanks to comments.)

The invasion by the Norse has influenced the English langauge as well and this can be heard especially is some Northern England dialects.

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    Actually, 'ph' words are derived from the Greek (beginning with the letter 'phi'). Nov 24, 2016 at 9:42
  • Please read the edited question. Sorry for the inconvenience.
    – user140086
    Nov 24, 2016 at 10:01
  • Words that start with "kn" have no special link to Dutch immigrants in general (I don't know, a few of them might be borrowed). The reason these words often are similar to Dutch words is the common Germanic ancestry of English and Dutch. Also "eek" is not from Dutch "ook," rather they are cognates, which means both descend from the parent language that came before English and Dutch and is ancestor to both (Proto-Germanic, basically).
    – herisson
    Nov 24, 2016 at 14:03

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