Phoneme /ɒ/ in Received Pronunciation

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This phonetics article is based on British English and received pronunciation. The phoneme /ɒ/ does not exist in General American. For American English see Phoneme /ɑː/ in General American and Phoneme /ɔː/ in General American. For an article valid in most of the English speaking world see IPA phoneme /ɒ/.


cloth /klɒθ/


lot /lɒt/

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

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

Common words[edit]

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

  • with "o": across* - along* - body - box - cost* - economic - follow - gone* - got - holiday - hot - involve - job - long* - lot - model - off* - offer* - office* - often* - policy - possible - probably - problem - product - project - shop - song* - stop - strong* - top - wrong*
  • with "a": qualify - quality - quantity - restaurant - wad - wallet - wander - want - wash - wasp - watch - what
  • with "au": Aussie* - austerity* - Australia* - Austria* - because* - cauliflower*

*: These words are pronounced with /ɔː/ in General American.

Spelling anomalies[edit]

  • cough /kɒf/*
  • knowledge /ˈnɒlɪdʒ/


  • knot - not


See Decoding exercises: "orV" and "orrV"

  • with "o": borrow - foreign - horror - orange - sorrow - sorry - tomorrow
  • with "a": warrant - warranty

Less common words[edit]

  • with "o": Congo, connoisseur /ˌkɒnəˈsɜːr/, Honduras, Morocco
  • with "e": entrepreneur /ˌɒntrəprəˈnɜːr/

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.


While /ɒ/ is very similar to the Spanish letter "o", it is actually slightly shorter, and most Spanish speakers pronounce it pretty well. However, it's useful to point out the difference between this short vowel sound and a sound which is particularly difficult for many Spanish speakers: /əʊ/, as in "slow". Practice may be needed to distinguish between words like "want" and "won't".

See also[edit]

External links[edit]