This is the ʌ sound. As in the words:
- but /bʌt/
- up /ʌp/
- one /wʌn/
It is a Vowel sound and it’s technical name is the ‘Open Mid-Back Unrounded Vowel’.
How to pronounce the ʌ 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 between the middle and the back of your mouth.
All vowels are made through the mouth and are voiced so you vibrate your vocal chords to make the sound.
To produce the sound put your tongue low and between the middle and the back of your mouth, then make a short voiced sound with your mouth open.
How the ʌ sound is Spelled
The /ʌ/ sound is often spelled with the letter ‘o’ as in the words:
- some /sʌm/
- company /‘kʌmpəni/
But is is also often spelled with a ‘u’ or ‘o-u’. As in the words:
- much /mʌtʆ/
- country /‘kʌntri/
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 ʌ sound
Here are some words that start with the /ʌ/ sound:
- other /’ʌðə/
- under /ˈʌndə/
- until /ʌnˈtɪl/
- understand /ˌʌndəˈstænd/
Here are some words that have the sound in the middle:
- another /ə’nʌðə/
- come /kʌm/
- such /sʌtʆ/
- become /bɪ’kʌm/
There are no words that end with this sound, but many words end with the similar sound, /ə/.
So that is it for the /ʌ/ 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.