General American (GA) is considered the “standard” pronunciation of American English and is the accent spoken throughout the USA except in the north-east (roughly the Boston and New England area) and the south-eastern states. It is geographically (largely non-coastal) and socially based.
The following table is used in Teflpedia. Note that in most of the United States /ɒ/ and /ɑː/ sound exactly the same.
- Vowel chart for American English
Includes /eə, ɪə, ʊə/ and /ɒ/ for compatibility with Received Pronunciation
|fleece - happy||kit||foot||goose||near||face|
|dress||comma - letter||nurse||thought - cloth
north - force
|trap - bath||strut||start - palm
Some speakers merge /eə/ with /e/, /ɪə/ with /ɪ/, and /ʊə/ with /ʊ/, and others have the FORCE lexical set with an /əʊ/ phoneme, sounding [oʊ], [oə] or [oː]. The table below shows the most common phoneme inventory.
|/ɑː/||palm, start, lot, sorry||[ɑ]|
|/e/||dress, carry, cherry, square||[ɛ], [eə]|
|/ɪ/||kit, mirror, near||[ɪ], [ɪə]|
|/ɔː/||thought, cloth, north, force, forest||[ɔ], [o], [oə]|
|/ʊ/||foot, cure||[ʊ], [ʊə]|
|/ɜː/||nurse, hurry, furry||[ɜ]|
- Vowel chart for General American (includes mergers)
It uses /oʊ/ instead of /əʊ/ and /ɛ/ instead of /e/, as is customary in American dictionaries
|fleece - happy||kit - near||foot - cure||goose||face|
|dress - square||comma - letter||nurse||thought - cloth
north - force
|trap - bath||strut||start - palm - lot||price||mouth|
Cot - caught merger
Around 40% of Americans have a different vowel inventory, in which /ɔː/ is merged with /ɑː/ (except before r). See Cot-caught merger. Another name for this merger (better for those who have it) is "LOT - THOUGHT merger".
|/ɑː/||palm, start, lot, thought, cloth, sorry|
|/e/||dress, carry, cherry, square|
|/ɪ/||kit, mirror, near|
|/ɔː/||north, force, forest|
|/ɜː/||nurse, hurry, furry|
- Roach, Peter. "English Phonetics and Phonology: Glossary" Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 6th October 2012.
- Crystal, D. Spell It Out: The Singular Story of English Spelling Profile Books ISBN 978-184668567 5
- American and British English differences
- International English
- Modern English
- Network English
- Received Pronunciation