Submitted by goossun on May 11, 2004

Oral vs. Aural

Do you pronounce “oral” and “aural” differently? How then?

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bkdoc is absolutely right, and they are pronounced exactly the same in British English as well. The pair regularly appear in lists of homophones, such as this one: http://www.bifroest.demon.co.uk/misc/homophones...

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Chance Likely is correct for not only West Michigan, but for the rest of the country as well. The two words, aural and oral, fall into a category of homonym referred to as a homophone; meaning two words which are pronounced the same, but spelled differently. The mistake in pronunciation is perpetuated by those who are attempting to draw a distinction between the words when spoken together; an example of this occurrence is when one is describing aural/oral communication within the context of hearing loss. However, a quick perusal of virtually any dictionary will illustrate that the proper pronunciation of both words is the same.

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I'm from West Michigan, and they are spoken exactly the same here. People usually avoid the word 'aural' and try to come up with some other way of saying 'pertaining to the ears or hearing'.

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I believe the "au" in "aural" should be pronounced like the "aw" in "awful," but not like the "a" in "are." "Oral" can, according to American Heritage, be pronounced the same as "aural," or you can make it longer and pronounce the "o" like in "odious."

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Karen, I'm from Texas. But you just excellently described what I was getting at in my previous post. Thanks for that. :)

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um.. are you all americans :P

its really simple really. the or in oral is pronounced shorter than the au in aural.

the au in aural isn't "ow" or "are" its the same sound as "audible"... it all originates from latin.. like audit!

and oral is pronounced quicker, the sound of an "ore" say, or from latin oratario or something. get some of the english accent in there!!!!

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it's hard to explain, but usually if you deepen your voice on "aur" in "aural", people will get it.

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Oral should be pronounced as the first two letters dictate - "or," as in the sentence "trick OR treat."

The "au" in aural sounds like "are," as in the sentence "we ARE dead meat."

People like to use a dipthong (the sound two or more vowels make when pronounced together - the "oi" in "poison") when pronouncing "aural," resulting in something sounding like "oooaaarull." People from NY tend to speak like that (myself being from NY). This blending of pronunciations creates confusion between the two words.

Look at it this way - you don't drive an ooaaatomobile. You drive an automobile. Similarly, you can go nORth, not nAUth.

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aural is sometimes pronounced "OW-ral" although as per speedwell's reply this is normally only used when wishing to make a specific distinction between the two terms, in most cases the intention is clear from the context

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I somewhat self-consciously pronounce "oral" with a sound that tends toward a long O, and "aural" with a sound that tends toward AW. But I am aware of making a special effort in this respect.

I understand the difference is purely one of dialect. It is no less correct to pronounce the words differently than it is to pronounce them identically.

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