Open back rounded vowel

From Teflpedia
This phonetics article is valid in most of the English speaking world. For a specific article for British English and received pronunciation see Phoneme /ɒ/ in Received Pronunciation. For American English see Phoneme /ɑː/ in General American and Phoneme /ɔː/ in General American.


lot /lɒt/

In Received Pronunciation, the IPA phonetic symbol /ɒ/ corresponds to the vowel sound in words like "lot", "stop", "cloth", "long", "sorry" and "forest".

In General American "lot", "stop" and "sorry" are normally pronounced with /ɑː/; "cloth", "long" and "forest" are pronounced with /ɔː/.

There are dictionaries of American English (such as Random House Dictionary) that actually use /ɒ/ as it is explained in this article: for "lot" and "stop", but not for "cloth" and "long" /lɒt, stɒp, klɔːθ, lɔːŋ/, and their actual meaning is /lɑːt, stɑːp, klɔːθ, lɔːŋ/.[1] "Sorry" and "forest" are normally pronounced /sɑːriː/ and /fɔːrɪst/. Random House Dictionary represents them as /ˈsɒri, ˈsɔri/ and /ˈfɔrɪst, ˈfɒrɪst/, with the preferred pronunciations swapped.

The remainder of this article is valid both for Received Pronunciation and General American (i.e. "lot" and "stop" are documented, "cloth" and "long", are not). See Phoneme /ɒ/ in Received Pronunciation and Phoneme /ɑː/ in General American for more examples. The cases of "sorry" and "forest" are also explained in this article.

In Teflpedia if the symbol /ɒ/ is used and no equivalence to General American is given, it must be understood to be read as /ɒ,BrE ɑːAmE/.


Common words[edit | edit source]

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

  • with "o": body - box - follow - got - hot - involve - job - lot - model - obvious - policy - possible - probably - problem - product - shop - stop - top
  • with "a": quality - restaurant - wad - wander - want - wash - watch

Spelling[edit | edit source]

/ɒ/ is always followed by one or more consonants. In derived words a single consonant is usually doubled (hop, hopping; rot, rotten).

"o" followed by a single consonant "o" followed by a double consonant "o" followed by two or more different consonants
/ɒ/ body, model, product common, follow, possible contact, involve, problem
/əʊ/ local, open, social grossest, roller only, hostess, program

Spelling anomaly[edit | edit source]

  • knowledge /ˈnɒlɪdʒ/

Homophones[edit | edit source]

  • knot - not

/ɒr/[edit | edit source]

See Decoding exercises: "orV" and "orrV"

According to Wikipedia[2] only 5 words are pronounced /ɑːr/ in General American and /ɒr/ in Received Pronunciation.

  • with "o": borrow - morrow (shortening of "tomorrow") - sorrow - sorry - tomorrow

In all other cases /ɒr/BrE is /ɔːr/AmE. However these words are pronounced /ɑːr/ in regional American English (parts of the East Coast, including New York City, Long Island, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, and the Carolinas).[2]

  • with "o": foreign, forest, horror, orange
  • with "a": warrant, warranty
  • with "au": laurel

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See for example Unabridged, based on the Random House Dictionary.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wikipedia, English-language vowel changes before historic /r/ § Historic "short o" before intervocalic R. Retreived 14 May 2015.