Phoneme /ɑː/ in Received Pronunciation
In Received Pronunciation /ɑːr/ is pronounced [ɑː] unless it is followed by a vowel, i.e. the "r" is normally silent unless it is followed by a vowel.
In General American the "r" is always pronounced.
There are places in the United Kingdom where the "r" is pronounced, and places in North America where it is not pronounced.
Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /ɑː/ include the following:
- with "a" (AmE /æ/): advance - advantage - after - answer - ask - banana - basket - bath - branch - can't - cast - castle - chance - class - contrast - dance - demand - disaster - draft - example - fast - glance - glass - grant - grass - half - last - master - pass - past - path - plant - photograph - rather - sample - staff - task - vast
- with "ar": apart, are /ər, ɑːr/, aren't, argue /ˈɑːrɡjuː/, argument, arm, army, art, article, artist, bar, car, card, carpet, charge, charm, chart, dark, department, far, farm, garden, guard /ɡɑːrd/, guitar, hard, harm, large, march, mark, market, park, part, partner, party, regard, remark, sharp, smart, star, start, target /ˈtɑːrɡɪt/, yard
- aren't - aunt;
- draft (rough version) - BrE (flow of air)
Less common words
These words don't rhyme
- /ɑː, æ/: example - ample; father - gather; demand - hand; pass - mass;
- /ɑːðz, æθs/: paths - maths
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.
Many Spanish speakers have difficulty remembering that in Received Pronunciation /ɑː/ is pronounced the same whether there is an "r" after the "a" or not.