Pronunciation exercises: /ʌ/ vs /ɒ/

From Teflpedia


body /ˈbɒdiː/


buddy /ˈbʌdiː/

Together with the page possible pronunciation difficulties, this page sets out some common words teachers can use to help their students become more aware of how they can improve their pronunciation of the vowel sounds /ʌ/ and /ɒ/.

Depending on their mother tongue (L1)—and in the case of Spanish depending on their country of origin (see IPA phoneme /ʌ/​#Spanish)—students may have difficulty distinguishing between these two sounds. More often than not, these supposed difficulties depend more on the interference of L1 than on the actual difficulties posed by English, and many, if not most students will greatly improve their pronunciation by simply becoming aware of certain differences - together with a minimum of practice.

Don't forget that intonation, linking and stress, both for individual words and for sentence stress, are also, of course, of vital importance in speaking better English.


  • with "u": but - fun - just - much - must - number - public - result - run - study - such - sun - Sunday - under - up - us
  • with "o": among - another - brother - come - company - cover - done - love - Monday - money - mother - other

Homophones: nun - none; won - one; sum - some; sun - son


In General American /ɒ/ is split in /ɑː/ and /ɔː/. See Phoneme /ɑː/ in General American and Phoneme /ɔː/ in General American. In Teflpedia /ɒ/ means /ɒ,BrE ɑːAmE/.

  • /ɒ/ with "o": got - hot - lot - job
  • /ɒ/ with "a": wad - wander - wasp - watch
  • /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ with "o": cough - gone - long - song - strong - wrong
  • /ɒ, ɔːAmE/ with "a": wallet - want - warrant - warranty - wash
  • /ɒ, ʌAmE/: what

/ɒ/ vs /ʌ/[edit]

/ɑː/AmE vs /ʌ/[edit]

Received Pronunciation /ɒ/ vs /ʌ/ and General American /ɑː/ vs /ʌ/

  • body - buddy; collar - colorAmE/colour;BrE fond - fund; hot - hut; lock - luck; shot - shut; wander - wonder; not - nut;

These words don't rhyme

  • bother - brother; font - front;

/ɔː/AmE vs /ʌ/[edit]

Received Pronunciation /ɒ/ vs /ʌ/. General American /ɔː/ vs /ʌ/

  • boss - bus; gone - gun; long - lung; song - sung;

These words don't rhyme

  • cough - tough; gone - done; song - among;

O and m, n, v, w[edit]

Many words that spelled with o and are adjacent to m, n, v or w are pronounced with /ʌ/.

  • /ʌ/: above, among, another, become, Colombia, come, comfortable, company, cover, discover, done, from, front, government, love, Monday, money, monkey, month, mother, none, nothing, once, one, some, son, tongue, wonder, wonderful
  • /ɒ/: beyond, bomb, bond, involve, model, knock, not, novel, prompt, response, tomorrow, upon
  • /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/: gone, on, onto

Ending in "ong"

  • /ʌ/: among
  • /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/: along, belong, long, song, strong, wrong

Variant pronunciations

  • /ɒ, ɔːAmE/: donkey

Variant pronunciations[edit]

  • accomplish: /əˈkʌmplɪʃBrE, əˈkɒmplɪʃAmE/
  • Coventry /ˈkʌvəntriː, ˈkɒvəntriː/
  • from /frəm, frɒm, frʌmAmE/
  • hover: /ˈhɒvər,BrE ˈhʌvərAmE/
  • monetary: /ˈmɒnɪteriː,AmE ˈmʌnɪtriːBrE/
  • of: /əv, ɒv,BrE ʌvAmE/
  • soemebody: /ˈsʌmbədiː, ˈsʌmbɒdiː,AmE sʌmbʌdiːAmE/[1]
  • was: /wəz, wɒz,BrE wʌzAmE/
  • what: /wɒt, wʌtAmE/

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.


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


  1. "somebody". Unabridged. Random House, Inc.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]