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    #1

    Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    Is there any rhyme or reason to the pronunciation of short a in an English accent? For instance, the "a" in rat, sat, can are different from the "a" in rather, example, can't. Is this even "standard" within certain accents or is it just personal preference?

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    Hi:

    In my opinion there is no difference in AmE.

    But I agree that BrE differs from AmE in these sounds. I don't have the skills to explain those differences phonetically. BrE accents are highly varied.

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    #3

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Hi:

    In my opinion there is no difference in AmE.

    But I agree that BrE differs from AmE in these sounds. I don't have the skills to explain those differences phonetically. BrE accents are highly varied.
    I seem to have run across what I was looking for, it's called the "trap-bath split" and apparently there is some consistency behind which words use which sound. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonolo...0.93bath_split)

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    #4

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    In British English, the length of the vowel sound is different in different regions- broadly speaking the northern regions tend more to the shorter sound, and the southern ones to the longer sound where this has occurred.

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    #5

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    That article on the trap/bath split is interesting.

    It just goes to show how incredibly vague the term 'English accent' in the title of this thread actually is. In fact it could have simply been, 'Pronouncing short A in English' since no specific accent was identified.

    What did the OP mean by English accent? Is it English English as opposed to American English? I think there are more varied accents in English English than in any other type of English.

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    #6

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    I come from the south of England and say "baahhth". My flatmate comes from the Midlands and says "bath" with the same "a" sound as in "sat". There are dozens of words which fall into this category. It's not even as simple as a north/south divide. The Midlands are, predictably, in the middle of the country. People from the West country (Devon, Cornwall, Dorset) use a pronunciation which is halfway between the south/Home Counties pronunciation and the Midlands/North pronunciation. In Scotland, it's generally the short clipped "a" (from "sat"). In Wales, it's more like the Southern "baath" but softer.

    I could go on for hours coming up with various regional accents and their many and varied ways of saying bath/grass/path etc. It's one of those things that you have to accept - there is no "right" way of pronouncing it and there is no such thing as an "English" or "British" accent.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    I'm from the Midlands and use a long vowel there.

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    #8

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    I would venture to suggest that you are an unusual Midlander.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    My friends who are still living in the Midlands have much more recognisable accents, which I think have grown over time in some cases.

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    #10

    Re: Pronouncing short A in an English accent

    I have heard it suggested that there is a variation in the pronunciation of the short A and long A in the Midlands between the East Midlands and West Midlands that relates to the period when the eastern part was under the control of the Norse under the Danelaw.

    The eastern side, in common with place further north like Yorkshire that were under Norse control uses the short A, and the western side that was Anglo-Saxon Mercia, uses the long A in common with the southern parts of England.
    Last edited by Mrfatso; 10-Mar-2015 at 03:50.

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