English Pronunciation: A Sounds
Pronunciation Video: A Sound Pronunciation
There are 3 main sounds that American English speakers make with the A vowel. But there are also two more that will be shown here.
Short A: the sound in the word “cat.” The lips are pulled back, and the throat is a little tight. This sound is an American sound. It is not used as much in other languages or British English. Spelling: simple (usually no silent letters).
Long A: the same as the sound of the letter: A. Spelling is complex–a silent letter, such as E or I is nearby.
Open A: the “ah” sound that is used in British English. It is the singer’s sound or the sound you make at the doctor when your throat is checked. Common spellings: “al,” “ar” and “wa.”*
An/m: When A is next to N or M, it sounds like the sound between a Long A and a Short A with a Y at the end. “And” sounds like A(y)nd with a very small Y.
Schwa: This is the simplest vowel and the most common sound in our language. It is the “u” sound in “up,” and in phonetics, it is an upside-down “e.” Spelling: usually “a” when the syllable is not stressed, as in “about.”
*”Al” has two sounds, the short A as in “Albert” and the open A as in “all.” “Ar” also has two sounds: the long A as in “parent” and the open A as in “car.” With the “wa” spelling–there are many exceptions in common words, i.e.,” was” sounds like “wuz” and “war” sounds like “wore.”
|SHORT A||LONG A|
The Long A sound is the most common. Here are some more words with the long A sound: able, contain, gave, tail, stay, area, table, plane, age, game, shape, state, plain
Practice saying these words with the A sounds: wax, wait, wall, wham, was and mad, made, mall, ma’am, massage.
The sounds go in order of the columns in the chart: short A, long A, open A, An/m, Schwa.
Was this helpful? Watch videos with the instructor speaking the A sounds, I sounds and other pronunciation sounds using the 500 common words in English.
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