So-called “short a”

From Teflpedia


trap /træp/

The so-called “short a” sound is an informal term that means the short sound of the letter a which is IPA phoneme /æ/ (for a North American accent see Phoneme /æ/ in General American).


  • In all the English speaking world: trap - have - rapid - battle
  • In General American the following examples can be added: after - ask - bath - can't - last
In Received Pronunciation we can say that these words (which sound /ɑː/) have “short a” spelling.

The terms “long a” and “short a” are not recommended because the opposition between /æ/ and /eɪ/ (“long a) is not only a difference in length, but mainly a difference in quality.

See also

“Short” “Long” Long rhotic monophthong
“Short” vowel spelling
Rhotic diphthong
“Long” vowel spelling
Short monophtong
A /æ/ trap /eɪ/ face /ɑː/ start /eə/ square /æ/ carry
E /e/ dress /iː/ we /ɜː/ term /ɪə/ here /e/ cherry
I /ɪ/ kit /aɪ/ price /ɜː/ girl /aɪə/ fire /ɪ/ mirror
O /ɒ/ lot /əʊ/ hope /ɔː/ north /ɔː/ store /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ torrid
U /ʌ/ strut /juː/ cute /ɜː/ nurse /jʊə/ cure /ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ hurry