Phoneme /æ/ in General American
The IPA phonetic symbol [æ] corresponds to the /æ/ sound as pronounced by an American. The same phoneme has the sound [a] in Received Pronunciation, and that is the controversial notation used by the Concise Oxford Dictionary.
In Teflpedia a broad notation is used. This means that the difference between American [æ] and British [a] is not important, and both pronunciations are rendered as /æ/. Slashes are used for broad notation and brackets are used for narrow notation.
Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /æ/ include the following:
- with "a": act - add - afterAmE - and - ankle - ant - askAmE - band - bad - bat - bathAmE - can - can'tAmE - draftAmE - halfAmE - hand - land - lastAmE - man - sad - staffAmE - stand - taskAmE - trap
- with "au": auntAmE - laughAmE
/æ/ is always followed by one or more consonants. In derived words a single consonant is usually doubled (plan - planned; dad - daddy).
|Followed by a single consonant||Followed by a double consonant|
|/æ/||family - travel - value||daddy - happen - planned|
|/eɪ/||information - make - paper||bass (in music)|
- meringue /məˈræŋ/ - plaid /plæd/
- /ˈpætənt/: right to make an invention
- /ˈpeɪtənt/: obvious, evident
- catch /kætʃ, kɛtʃAmE/
In North America the sequence /ær/ followed by a vowel (as in "marry") is often pronounced /er/ (as in "merry") or /eər/ (as in Mary).
The following words appear with Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary./ær/ in
- apparent, barrier, character, characteristic, carry, comparison, embarrass, guarantee, marriage, marry, narrative, narrow
The following words appear with NAmE /er, ær/ in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
- variable, various, vary
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following sections aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.
- IPA vowel symbols for British English in dictionaries, section 6. /a/ versus /ӕ/