Letters & Sounds

The first most important step for reading Old and Middle English is learning the letters and sounds.

Each vowel is "long" pronounced as below, but "short" when the sound is shorter in duration.

                    Middle English
Front VowelsBack VowelsVowel-Pairs
i / y    machineu   ruleai   ( Pronounce
e        heyo   boneau    as the vowels suggest,
a   fatherei     but as one syllable
eu     not two.)
oi    boy
ou   bow or boot
ea, eo   bread, break
  yelp or loch       /    father between vowels.
                                     thought elsewheres

sch or ssch  shine