Open-mid back unrounded vowel

From Teflpedia
(Redirected from IPA phoneme /ʌ/)


ˈ ə

stutter /ˈstətər/



stutter /ˈstʌtər/

In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /ʌ/ corresponds to the monophthong vowel sound in words like "strut", "nut" and "bus".

When this sound is unstressed it sounds /ə/, and conversely, a stressed /ə/ (impossible in American English, very rare in Received Pronunciation) normally sounds /ʌ/; however for many speakers [ʌ] and [ə] are clearly different and any of them can be either stressed or unstressed.[1]

Since /ʌ/ always is stressed and /ə/ never is, in theory there is no confusion if only one symbol is used,[2] and some dictionaries follow that rule.[3][4] In this case /ˈstətər/ for "stutter" must be interpreted as [ˈstʌtər].

Common words[edit]

Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /ʌ/ include the following:

  • with "u": bun - bus - but - butter - cut - fun - gun - luck - lunch - run - structure - summer - sun - Sunday - thunder - truck - tunnel - under - up - us
  • with "o":
O adjacent to "m": accomplishBrE - Colombia - come - comfort - comfortable /ˈkʌmftəbəl, ˈkʌmfərtəbəl/ - company - compass - mother - some - stomach
O adjacent to "m" and "n": among - Monday - money - mongrel - monk - monkey - month
O adjacent to "n": another - confrontation - done - front - honey - London - none - nothing - one /wʌn/ - once /wʌns/ - onion /ˈʌnjən/ - son - sponge - ton - tongue - tonne
O adjacent to "n" and "w": won - wonder - wonderful
O adjacent to "v": above - Coventry /ˈkʌvəntriː, ˈkɒvəntriː/ - cover - covet - discover - dove (bird) - glove - government - love - lover - oven - shovel - slovenly
Other: brother - colorAmE - colourBrE - dozen - other - thorough /ˈθʌrə,BrE ˈθɜːrəʊAmE/
  • with "ou": country - couple - cousin - double - southern - touch - trouble - young
  • homophones: none - nun; one - won; some - sum; son - sun;

Spelling anomalies[edit]

  • with "a": was /wʌz,AmE wɒz, wəz/ - wasn't /ˈwʌzənt,AmE ˈwɒzənt/ - what /wʌt,AmE wɒt, wət/
  • with "oe": does (verb) - doesn't
  • with "oo": blood - flood
with "ough": enough - rough - tough

/ʌ/ and /ɜː/[edit]

See IPA phoneme /ɜː/ — /ɜː/ and /ʌ/.

Variant pronunciations[edit]

  • accomplice /əˈkɑːmplɪsAmE, əˈkʌmplɪsBrE/[5]
  • from /frɒm,[6] frʌmAmE/
  • twenty /ˈtwɛntiː, ˈtwʌntiːAmE/[7]
  • what /wɒt, wʌtAmE/[8]
  • anybody /ˈeniːbɒdiː, ˈeniːbʌdiːAmE/
  • everybody /ˈevriːbɒdiː, ˈevriːbʌdiːAmE/
  • nobody /ˈnəʊbədiː, ˈnəʊbɒdiː,AmE ˈnəʊbʌdiːAmE/
  • somebody /ˈsʌmbədiː, ˈsʌmbɒdiː,AmE ˈsʌmbʌdiːAmE/

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit]

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.


Spelling is a big interference for Spanish speakers, and they may rhyme "null" with "full" and "pull": /nʌl, fʊl, pʊl/ pronounced [nul, ful, pul].

See Pronunciation exercises: /ʌ/ vs /æ/ § Spanish


  1. John Wells's phonetic blog, STRUT and commA, 13 July 2010.
  2. Geoff Lindsey, The British English vowel system, 8 March 2012.
  3. gdict, stutter /ˈstətər/
  4. Nice Definition, stutter /ˈstətər/
  5. Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, accomplice.
  6. Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, from.
  7. "twenty". Unabridged. Random House, Inc.
  8. Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, what.