おう: when is it pronounced as a long o, and when is it literally o+u?

I thought that if おう traverses a border between kanji, then u is preserved as a separate phoneme, for example: 思う.
But then I found out by listening to https://satorireader.com/articles/kiki-mimi-rajio-episode-20-edition-m that お家 (おうち) is pronounced with a long o.
The two variations look identical in kana, so how can one tell? Do dictionaries provide this distinction?

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It’s not ?
お家 | 1714 pronunciations of お家 in Japanese?

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It’s important to remember than in Japanese like in English and every language, there are different accents and intonations and regional variants.

For example, the different pronunciation of the ぐ sound.

Anyway, I don’t know if it’s the case here but it’s still important to keep in mind in general.

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I just listened to that section on Satori Reader, I think the う is being pronounced but definitely not clearly. I agree, it’s hard to tell. If you heard this voice actress pronounce a long お sound in a side-by-side comparison you would probably notice a difference.

Anyone else with a Satori Reader subscription want to chime in?

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Hey, I looked up the word on forvo, and it’s pronounced like o-u there by the girl Произношение お家: Как произносится お家 (язык: японский)
It may be something to do with accents and dialects. I personally always pronounce this combination of letters as oo normally, and as o-u when the o or the u are part of the grammar, not the word/kanji. in 思う the う is the verb termination, so it always sounds like o-u, and in お家 the お is a mark of politeness (idk how it’s called in english), so it’s not an inherent part of the word 家, it’s grammar. So, for me both are o-u, it’s just that depending on the person, they can link the two sounds in a way that there may not be super a clear distinction (???).
Idk if the explanation is understandable, or if it’s even correct, so I hope people who know more can correct me if something I said is wrong! It’s just how I always approached this :durtle_noice:

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If おう are a part of the on’yomi reading, then it’s mos’ def(initely) pronounced おお.
おう does occasionally appear in a kun’yomi as the sound おお as in 弟・おとうと, but this is less common.
おうち is just the honoriffic お followed by the word うち, so it doesn’t combine into the おお sound.
う is always pronounced at the end of a verb.

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