æ Sound: How to Pronounce the æ Sound (/æ/ Phoneme)

This is the æ sound. As in the words:

  • have /hæv/
  • that /ðæt/
  • and /ænd/


æ sound

It is a Vowel sound and it’s technical name is the ‘Near-Open Front Unrounded Vowel’.

How to pronounce the æ sound

Remember that the key to pronunciation s physical and the name tells us about how the sound is made physically. In this case your tongue is low and at the front of your mouth. Unrounded refers to your lips because they are stretched out as if you are smiling 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 /ɑ:/ sound, but it is shorter; /æ/ not /ɑ:/.

To produce the sound put your tongue low and at the front of your mouth and stretch out your lips, then make a short voiced sound with you mouth open.

How the æ sound is spelled

The æ sound is normally spelled with the letter ‘a’ as in the words:

  • at /æt/
  • as /æz/
  • can /kæn/
  • man /mæn/

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 æ Sound

Here are some words that start with the æ sound:

  • add /æd/
  • actually /ˈæktʆuəli/
  • action /ˈækʆən/
  • activity /ækˈtɪvəti/

Here are some words that have the sound in the middle

  • back /bæk/
  • family /’fæməli/
  • hand /hænd/
  • fact /fækt/

There are no words that end with this sound, but many words end with the similar sound,

So that is it for the æ 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.

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