Phoneme /ɔː/ in General American (international version)
In Received Pronunciation /ɔːr/ is pronounced [ɔː] unless it is followed by a vowel, i.e. when the spelling has an "r", it is normally silent unless it is followed by a vowel.
In General American the "r" in /ɔːr/ is always pronounced. Many people pronounce /ɔː/ and /ɔːr/ with different vowels (e.g. sauce as [sɔs] and source as [sors]); however since the difference is predictable there is no problem using the same symbol in both cases (e.g. /sɔːs/ and /sɔːrs/).
There are places in the United Kingdom where /ɔːr/ is pronounced [ɔːr], and places in North America where /r/ is silent.
Some common words containing /ɔː/ include the following:
- with "o"AmE: across, along, cloth, cost, cross, dog, gone, long, loss, lost, off, offer, office, often, soft, song, strong, wrong
- with "oa": abroad - broad
- with "ough": ought - thought
- past tense and past participle: bought - brought - fought - sought - thought
- with "a": water
- with "al": almost - already - alter - always - chalk - false - salt - talk - walk
- with "all": ball - call - fall - hall - mall - small - talk - walk - wall
- with "aw": dawn - flaw - hawk - jaw - law - lawn - raw - saw - shawl - thaw - yawn
- with "au": auction - August - AussieAmE - austerity - AustraliaAmE - AustriaAmE - author - autumn - cause - clause - daughter - fault - launch
- past tense and past participle: caught - taught
- with "ou": coughAmE
Words marked AmE are pronounced with /ɒ/ in Received Pronunciation.
Some common words containing /ɔːr/ include the following (note that the /r/ is silent in Received Pronunciation, unless it is followed by a vowel)
- with "or": afford - born - cork - door - floor - fork - horse - lord - more - nor - or - pork - score - short - store - storm - sword
- with "oar": boar - board - oar - roar - soar
- with "our": court - four - pour
- with "ar": quarter - war - warm - warn
- homophones: bored/board - or/oar/ore.
/ɔː/, /ɑː/ or /ɒ/
- alcohol - Boston - chocolate - gone - on - wash
/ɔːr/, /ɑːr/ or /ɒr/
- borrow - Florida - orange - sorrow - sorry - tomorrow - warrant - warranty
Main article: Cot-caught merger
In many parts of North America (about half the United States and all of Canada) /ɑː/ and /ɔː/ sound the same. This is in addition to the father - bother merger, where /ɑː/ and /ɒ/ sound the same. This means that caught /ɔː/, cot /ɒ/, father /ɑː/ and bother /ɒ/ have all the same stressed vowel /ɑː/. In this accent /ɔː/ appears only followed by /r/: north, force.
The cot-caught merger generates very few homophones.
- bot (computer program; shortening of robot) - bought; collar - caller; cot - caught; don (put clothes on)/Don (nickname of Donald) - dawn/Dawn; stock - stalk;
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 will pronounce the short o sound as /ɔː/ even when it should be pronounced /ɑː/: lot as *.
- William Labov,The Organization of Dialect Diversity in North America, The o/oh merger [i.e. The /ɑː - ɔː/ merger].