I was reading a book on English spelling (Dictionary of the British English Spelling System, by Greg Brooks) and it mentioned that the Short A sound (æ) can be spelled using the following graphemes:
- a, as in cat
- i, as in timbre
- ai, as in plaid
- al, as in salmon
- ei, as in reveille (only in British English)
It also mentions in a table that the Short A sound can be spelled with the letters ae. But I didn’t see any examples in the book.
Does anyone know of any words that have the letters “ae” used to make the Short A sound (æ)? A single example would be really helpful – and an exhaustive list would be even better.
It’s not common for the digraph ⟨ae⟩ to represent /æ/. ⟨ae⟩ is usually pronounced:
- /iː/ (encyclopaedia, aether, aeon)
- /ɛ/ (aesthetics, aerial in AmE)
- /eə/ or /ɛː/ (aeroplane, aerial in BrE).
The only word where ⟨ae⟩ represents /æ/ I’ve been able to find is Gaelic: /ˈɡæl.ɪk/. However, it’s also pronounced with the diphthong /eɪ/: /ˈɡeɪ.lɪk/.
As @LPH pointed out in a comment, Caedmon and Aelfrik are two other words that have ⟨ae⟩ represent /æ/.