Deeper Dive: dog

dog story notes [audio]

This word is dog.

dog is such a good boy. It’s a familiar word, with a simple consonant vowel consonant spelling, and it is easy to learn to read.

dog has only one trick. It’s how the vowel is pronounced. dog is often described as having the short o sound ah like in DOLL, D O L L, but, for many people in north America, the vowel in dog is slightly different—it’s the aww sound like in PAW, p a w, and not the ah sound like in hot H O T or doll.

How do you say dog and doll? You might use the same AHH vowel for both of them: dog and doll, or you might have the AW vowel in both of them: dawg and dawl. Or you might be like me and have the aw sound for dog and the ah sound for doll. None of these pronunciations is more correct or better than the others—all are completely acceptable in English. Because the English language is gradually drifting toward having the same vowel for dog and doll, kids are more likely to have one vowel than adults are. Therefore, it’s possible that you may pronounce dog and doll differently than some or all of your students.

In the particular case of dog, having different vowel pronunciations in your classroom probably won’t slow anyone down, because the AWW and AHh sounds are quite similar. Young readers will probably easily learn to read dog with the correct vowel for their own way of speaking. If you’d like to group dog with other words that probably have the same vowel for any child in you class no matter how they pronounce dog, you could have exercises combining dog with words like HOG H O G, LOG L O G, AND COST C O S T. How much does that dog on the log cost?

For older students, you could use dog in lessons about compound words, like dogHOUSE, dogFISH, WATCHdog, AND HOTdog. You could use examples like these to illustrate that the words inside a compound word combine in many different ways. For example, a dogHOUSE is a house for a dog, but a dogfish is not a fish for a dog—a dogfish is a kind of shark. Similarly, a WATCHdog is a dog that watches, but a HOTdog is not a dog that makes something hot—it’s the name of a food.

No matter how you pronounce it, and no matter where you put it in compound words, dog is such a good word.

- Mary Ellen MacDonald

Mark’s notes for Word story for dog?

  Simple CVC

Other CoC words rhyme, same vowel.  (but see below)

Vowel is pronounced differently in different accents, but the alternation is consistent because all the  CoC words are consistent.

  Possible exceptions, anomalies?

In my accent, dog does not rhyme with  DON, DOT. It’s that “aw” vs. “ah” distinction again.

Similarly dog vs. BOG

  Anything else to say? 

Instruction often focuses on rules for pronouncing CVCs. 

dog is pretty easy on the view that the vowels in CVCs are “short”.  You just need to know the 
“short” O vowel. But, I thought the short version of O as in TOW is “ah” as in DOT.

I’m pretty sure that’s what they are taught.

  In any case, since CVCs are pretty easy to learn, they can be taught in a way that emphasizes other properties or related words as well. 
For example, both the spelling-sound pattern and the semantics are reinforced by texts or expressions using words like   dog, frog, hog, on the log in the bog.

  dog enters into a lot of compounds. Could be used to illustrate how compounds vary in semantic compositionality. 
e.g.,  dogHOUSE, is a house for dogs,  dogBONE is a bone for dogs, but dogWOOD is not wood for dogs and dogGONE, is illstrates what a pseudocompound is (meanings of individual words don’t contribute much to overall meaning). 
a WATCHdog, watches, a HOUNDdog hounds, but HOTdog etc.  
Not clear what else to use it for.  Not necessary to have a complex one for this entry.    


"Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog it’s too dark to read." Groucho Marx

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain

"My little dog - my heartbeat at my feet." Edith Wharton


Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back

She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble, she sank with a drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

The dog days are over
The dog days are over
Can you hear the horses?
‘Cause here they come

Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine

Quite dog
Walk the dog
Stray dog
Bird dog
Guard dog
Lap dog
Gone to the dogs
An absolute dog
You,dirty dog!
Raining cats and dogs
A dog and pony show
dog eat dog
A dog’s dinner/breakfast
Every dog has his day
Have an dog in the fight
Let sleeping dogs lie
dog transitive verb [imperfect or past participle Dogged; present participle or verbal noun Dogging.]

To hunt or track like a hound; to follow insidiously or indefatigably; to chase with a dog or dogs; to worry, as if by dogs; to hound with importunity.
I have been pursued, dogged, and waylaid. Pope.

Your sins will dog you, pursue you. Burroughs.

Eager ill-bred petitioners, who do not so properly supplicate as hunt the person whom they address to, dogging him from place to place, till they even extort an answer to their rude requests. South.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

morpheme phoneme statistics idioms