What is the proper pronunciation of the word "a" in the middle of a sentence?
As in "that is a cat", or "do you want a pen?".
Today, my kids' preschool teacher told me that my kid and I are saying it wrong, and she actually used the word "wrong".
According to the teacher, the proper pronunciation is "that is UH cat", and "do you want UH pen?"
I tried to explain that as far as I know, the difference is a dialect issue. Just like someone from Boston who says they drive a "cah" (car) or shop at a "maht" (mart).
It is my hope that someone will corroborate what I'm saying and find documentation that I can print and bring in to the teacher.
Or, of course, confirm what the teacher said and correct me :)
Thanks to all!
I don't think your pronunciation is 'wrong'. It's just that you are using the strong form of the word. I guess the preschool teacher was trying to tell you that the form/pronunciation you were using was not suitable then - the strong form should be used in the right context.
I've found this:
I hope my response will be of some help to you.
Most of the time, the unstressed ("uh") pronunciation would be used. The stressed ("ay") form is correct when there is a need to emphasise it in some way. Where are you from in the States, and do most other speakers say "ay" most of the time?
I've heard this and can confirm that some native speakers of AmE do tend to prefer "ay" over "uh" where others would not, but I don't know what the geographical or ethnic prevalence of this usage is.