This is the ɒ sound. As in the words:
- of /ɒv/
- on /ɒn/
- from /frɒm/
It is a Vowel sound and it’s technical name is the ‘Open back rounded vowel’.
How to pronounce the ɒ Sound
Remember that the key to pronunciation is physical and the name tells us about how the sound is made physically. In this case your tongue is low and at the back of your mouth. Rounded here means your lips make a round shape but the mouth is open a little.
All vowels are made through the mouth and are voiced so you vibrate your vocal chords to make the sound.
It is similar to the /ɔ:/ sound, but it is shorter. /ɒ/ not /ɔ:/.
To produce the sound put your tongue low and at the back of your mouth and lightly push your lips together while making a short voiced sound.
How the ɒ Sound is Spelled
The /ɒ/ sound is normally spelled with the letter ‘o’, as in the words:
- not /nɒt/
- problem /’prɒbləm/
But it can also be spelled with the letters ‘a’ or ‘a-u’. As in the words:
- what /wɒt/
- because /bɪ’kɒz
Like with all vowels in English, the spelling can be very inconsistent and you will always find alternative and unusual spellings of the vowels sounds. It is one of the most difficult things in English but you just have to learn it.
Examples of the ɒ Sound
Here are some more examples of words with the /ɒ/ sound:
- want /wɒnt/
- off /ɒf/
- lot /lɒt/
- job /dʒɒb/
The /ɒ/ sound is a little unusual, it is not so common so there are not many examples and it is not used at all in American English. In the American accent they use a sound more similar to /æ/ or /ɑ:/ where in British pronunciation we use theɒ sound. So it is only really Important if you specifically want to sound British.
So that is it for the ɒ sound but we have made additional videos on each of the groups of sounds Vowels, Diphthongs, Single Consonants, or Consonant Pairs as well as a video explaining the the phonetic chart.