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What is the relative frequency of the vowels teams and diphthongs in English?
That is a question that can be answered in different ways, depending on your phonetic analysis and your definition of vowel di- and trigraphs and diphthongs. The table below is a summary of one type of answer. It is based on an analysis of 6,100 high frequency words from the Thorndike-Lorge Teacher’s Word Book of 30,000 Words (NY: Teachers College Press, 1944, repr. 1972). The phonetic analysis is essentially that given in the American Heritage Dictionary. The table below is a summary of a more detailed table, which specifies the different spelling-to-sound relationships. The detailed table is too large for this venue, but you will find it in the Short Articles section of this website under the title “Frequency of Occurrence of Vowel Digraph, Trigraph, and Diphthong Spellings.”

Spelling Frequency

<ae> 2

<ah> 3

<ai> 16

<au> 42

<aw> 23

<awer> 1

<ay> 9

<ayer> 1

<ea> 220

<eau> 4

<ee> 131

<ei> 31

<eo> 6

<eu> 4

<ew> 32

<ey> 29

<ia> 33

<ie> 41

<ieu> 1

<ieur> 1

<iew> 3

<io> 236

<iou> 13

<iu> 1

<oa> 38

<oe> 3

<o'er> 1

<oh> 3

<oi> 33

<oo> 93

<ou> 201

<ow> 110

<oy> 19

<ue> 17

<ui> 14

<uy> 3

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