This is the ɑ: sound. As in the words:
- after /’ɑːftə/
- last /lɑːst/
- ask /ɑːsk/
It is a Vowel sound and it’s technical name is the ‘Open Back Unrounded Vowel’.
How to Pronounce the ɑ: 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. Unrounded refers to your lips because they are relaxed and not rounded.
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 /æ/ sound, but the two little dots mean that it is a longer sounds.
/ɑ:/ not /æ/.
To produce the sound put your tongue low and at the back of your mouth, then make a long voiced sound with you mouth open.
How the ɑ: sound is Spelled
The ɑ: sound is normally spelled with the letters ‘a-r’ as in the words:
- start /stɑːt/
- part /pɑːt/
- large /lɑːdʒ/
- party /ˈpɑːI/
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 ɑ: Sound
Here are some words that start with the ɑ: sound:
- art /ɑːt/
- arm /ɑːm/
- answer /ˈɑːnsə/
- argue /ˈɑːgjuː/
Here are some words that have the sound in the middle:
- father /ˈfɑːðə/
- market /ˈmɑːkɪt/
- class /klɑːs/
- hard /hɑːd/
Here are some words with the /ɑ:/ at the end.
- far /fɑː/ far
- car /kɑː/
- star /stɑː/
- bar /bɑː/
So that is it for the ɑ: 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.