Pronunciation Of The Letter “Aa”
he Letter “A” is the first letter in The English Alphabet. It is also the first Vowel in The English Alphabet. In this article and the video below — you will learn the different ways to pronounce this letter.
here is a good chance that you already KNOW how to pronounce this letter — and you almost certainly already know how to make the different sounds, because they exist in EVERY other language. But l am sure that you will gain something from this article.
The Letter “Aa”
n the video below — “Rachel” demonstrates the many different pronunciations of The Letter “A” in The Common Tongue of The English Language. In some of the examples — you will see & hear that The Letter “A” is actually pronounced like a completely different vowel!
owever — these different pronunciations are not necessarily different pronunciations of The Letter “A” by itself. They are merely demonstrations of HOW The Letter “A” is pronounced when it is used in different words.
Notice! — My notes and comments are listed below, with times corresponding to the places in the video which I am referring to.
You can disregard everything from 0:00-0:50. This is simply the introduction that she uses for almost all of her Pronunciation videos.
0:15–0:50 — Especially disregard everything from 0:15–0:50. This is because she mentions the words, “Chicago” and “Choice” — and makes reference to The “Ch” Sound… This obviously has nothing to do with the subject of THIS video.
She also uses the Idiomatic Phrasal-Adverb “One-On-One” — However, her use of this phrase is not correct, because what she MEANS is: “Equally” or “Directly”. However — this is not what the phrase “One-On-One” means — or even how it is used.
What She Should Have Said Was…
“…There is not only one way to pronounce each of the letters in the English Alphabet. Each letter — and especially the vowels — have multiple ways that they are pronounced, depending on what other letters they appear with — and sometimes even, depending on the origin of that word…”
And — despite what she said — there is nothing “unfortunate” about this. It simply is what it is, and there are good reasons for this. (Would you say that it is unfortunate that the sky is blue, and not orange?) The same is true for literally EVERY language in existence. So there is no need to make this an “unfortunate” situation… Just learn how it is done, and do it! 😉
And finally — simply using the IPA transcription of the word does NOT always solve the problem either. This is because there are FAR too many interpretations of what sound goes with what symbol. So that system — like English itself — has been completely corrupted. 😐
But that is why — when you look up a word on The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Pronunciation Portal — you will see the word spelled with the IPA AND spelled phonetically. In this way, there should be no confusion. 😎
The first sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “Exact” — is what is commonly known-as:
“The Short A” — æ / aa
The second sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “Father” — is what is most commonly known as:
“The Short O” — ɑ / ah
The third sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “About” — is what is called (as she says):
The Schwa Sound — ə
However — what she does not say (and what virtually no other teacher or text-book ever mentions) is that there are at least Three Different Schwa Sounds. If you listen to what she is saying — you can clearly hear that the sound is similar to what is called:
“The Short U” — ʌ / uh
However the sound itself is cut very short, which is the main characteristic of any Schwa sound.
On The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Pronunciation Portal — this sound is called:
“The U-Schwa” — ə(ʌ) / uh
Since this is a term that I invented — there is not yet a phonetic symbol or diacritic mark for this sound — which is why I use the traditional symbol for The Schwa Sound — along with the symbol for “The Short U” in parenthesis. This is so that it is understood which Schwa Sound is used.
The fourth sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “Fall” — is what is referred to on The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Pronunciation Portal as being pronounced like:
The “AW” Combination — ɔ / aw
The fifth sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “Able” — is what is commonly referred to as:
“The Long A” — eː / ay
However — you will notice that she uses the word “Diphthong”. This is the term for a sound which is a vowel combination; the sound starts with one vowel sound and finishes with another.
But — similar to The Schwa Sound — what is mistakenly referred to as: The Long “A” — actually refers to three different pronunciations.
Here — it is actually what is called in The Common Tongue, a:
True Long “A” — and is not really a Diphthong at all
Notice On The Phonetic Symbols
You will also notice that the phonetic symbol above is different than in the video. It is beyond the scope of this post to explain all of this here. However — I will fully explain all the different pronunciations and phonetic symbols in a different blog post, which will be specifically about this topic. But just know that this is purposely on my part after thorough research, comparison, and study on both the origin, use, and logic behind the different phonetic symbols.
So if you are going to choose which ones to follow — then I suggest you follow the symbols that I have put here.
The sixth sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “Share” — is COMPLETELY WRONG!!! This is NOT a disagreement of opinion either. It should be quite clear, simply by listening to the sounds — that these are not the same as what she is describing.
The Letter “a” in the word: “Share” — is NOT the “eh” sound — which is actually “The Short E” — ɛ / eh — which she, herself, actually demonstrates!
This is, unfortunately, not un-common in the world of English Language Teachers. (Which is exactly why I created GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!) 😉
The letter “a” in the word: “Share” — demonstrates an example of yet another pronunciation of what is mistakenly referred to as:
“The Long A” — eː / ay
This is because it is yet another Diphthong. This is what I call:
The Long “A” / Short “I” Diphthong — eɪ / ay (there is not really a good way to write it phonetically)
All Of This Is Fully Explained In THIS BLOG POST
The seventh sound that Rachel speaks of — using the example word: “Private“ — is what she claims is:
“The Short I” — ɪ / ih
However — this is not a common pronunciation of The Letter “A”. It just happens to be the pronunciation of The Letter “A” with-in the “-ate” suffix in MOST (but not all) words that end with the “-ate” suffix.
And — you will notice that “The Short I” sound in the word: “Private“ — is not the same as in the word “Idiot” — which is a good example of the pronunciation of a “true” “Short “I” Sound.
This is because the suffix is not stressed — and therefore — the “a” in the word: “Private” — is yet another version of The Schwa Sound mentioned above.
On The GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! Pronunciation Portal — I refer to this sound as:
“The I-Schwa” — ə(ɪ) / ih
This sound is the same as “The Short I” — only, the duration of the sound gets cut very short.
(And — as with the “U-Schwa”, explained above — since this term is my own — there is not-yet a phonetic symbol or diacritic mark for this sound. This is why I use the traditional symbol for “The Schwa Sound” — along with the symbol for “The Short I” in parenthesis, so that it is known which Schwa sound should be used.)
So After All That — You Might Be Asking Yourself…
“If you dis-agree with so much of what was said in the video — why would you, then, post it on such an awesome blog as this?” 😀
That’s A Good Question…
t is because most of what Rachel says in her videos is, overall, very good information. Specifically when she demonstrates how to actually make the sounds with one’s mouth, tongue, throat, and voice. I only aim to clarify — EVEN MORE — the good information that she presents — And fix the information that is either completely wrong or not very good.
ince I am LITERALLY creating a completely Revised, and Re-Newed form of The English Language in my system called The Common Tongue — then it is necessary to show the world that there is actually a need for doing-so. And the best way to do that, is to show the mistakes of the current “system” (and the so-called “experts” who are teaching it).
nd finally — since I have been doing that with ALL of my students since I started teaching — (un-intentionally at first. Then VERY intentionally) — I have discovered that people learn English MUCH faster by seeing the mistakes that others make. In that way — they don’t ALSO make those mistakes.
hen I was a skateboarder — my friends and I would often watch videos that always had “slam sessions” — where they would show the skaters “wiping out” — sometimes severly. Those “wife-out” sections were just as useful as the sections where they showed people pulling tricks.
So… I will continue to share videos and other material that have mistakes in them. And I will point out those mistakes. They you will learn English even better than a Native Speaker. And when they say, “How did you become so fluent in English?” And you will say: “Actually I am only fluent in The Common Tongue. And I learned it from “The Teacher” at GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!” 😎
Have An Excellent Day!
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