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PRONUNCIATION: BASIC SOUNDS
The Short A Sound and the Short O Sound
/æ/ and /ɑ/

GOAL

I can make the short A sound and the short O sound.

TRY IT!

Read the sentence below.

He got so mad at me and asked me to pay for all of the hotdogs!

SOUNDS

Learn how to pronounce today's sounds.
Sound Profile
Voicing

yes

Mouth

open

Lips

wide apart

Teeth

Tongue

the tip of the tongue touching the back of the bottom front teeth

Jaw

down

Steps
  1. Open your mouth with your lips wide apart.

  2. Drop your jaw down.

  3. Press the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom front teeth.

  4. Make a voiced sound.

  5. You should feel the apples of your cheeks rise slightly.

Katakana Otoshiana

Because there is no perfect match for the short A sound in Japanese, many English words with that sound are written with a (ア) or even ya (ヤ) in katakana.

 

hat ➡ hatto (ハット)

jacket ➡ jyaketto (ジャケット)

cat ➡ kyatto (キャット)

 

Be careful to make them the short A sound in English!

Voicing

yes

Mouth

open

Lips

slightly rounded

Teeth

Tongue

the tip of the tongue touching the back of the bottom front teeth

Jaw

down

Steps
  1. Open your mouth with your lips slightly rounded.

  2. Drop your jaw down.

  3. Press the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom front teeth.

  4. Make a voiced sound.

Katakana Otoshiana

Because there is no perfect match for the short O sound in Japanese, many English words with that sound are written with o (オ) in katakana.

 

hot ➡ hotto (ホット)

shopping ➡ shoppingu (ショッピング)

body ➡ bodii (ボディー)

 

Be careful to make them the short O sound in English!

Steps
  1. Open your mouth with your lips wide apart.

  2. Drop your jaw down.

  3. Press the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom front teeth.

  4. Make a voiced sound.

  5. You should feel the apples of your cheeks rise slightly.

Steps
  1. Open your mouth with your lips slightly rounded.

  2. Drop your jaw down.

  3. Press the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom front teeth.

  4. Make a voiced sound.

Katakana Otoshiana

Because there is no perfect match for the short A sound in Japanese, many English words with that sound are written with a (ア) or even ya (ヤ) in katakana.

 

hat ➡ hatto (ハット)

jacket ➡ jyaketto (ジャケット)

cat ➡ kyatto (キャット)

 

Be careful to make them the short A sound in English!

Katakana Otoshiana

Because there is no perfect match for the short O sound in Japanese, many English words with that sound are written with o (オ) in katakana.

 

hot ➡ hotto (ホット)

shopping ➡ shoppingu (ショッピング)

body ➡ bodii (ボディー)

 

Be careful to make them the short O sound in English!

SENTENCES

Practice today’s sounds in the sentences below.

/æ/

  1. The family is sad.
  2. Does Sam have his boarding pass?
  3. A cat sat under the apple tree.
  4. My dad wears a black hat.
  5. Give me back my plaid jacket.

/ɑ/

  1. Claude is honest.
  2. The pot is hot.
  3. Is there a problem, John?
  4. Call me and we’ll go shopping.
  5. The doll might fall on the floor.

/æ/ + /ɑ/

  1. Dad got mad at John.
  2. I bought some bad apples from Maude.
  3. It’s hot, so wear a hat.
  4. Sam bought a jacket for John.
  5. The honest man gave the dollar back.

DIALOGUES

Practice today’s sounds in the dialogues below.

/æ/

Student:

Pam is sad.

Tutor:

Why? Did something bad happen?

Student:

Yeah. Her family went back to Canada.

Tutor:

Oh, that’s too bad.

Student:

I have an idea! Let’s bake her an apple pie, so she’ll be happy.

/ɑ/

Student:

Hey. What’s the problem?

Tutor:

It’s my mom. She went shopping for me.

Student:

What did she buy? Was it the wrong size?

Tutor:

Not the wrong size, but the wrong style! And she bought a lot of stuff.

Student:

Uh-oh! Just be honest with your mom, then. Tell her you don’t like any of the clothes.

/æ/ + /ɑ/

Tutor:

Hey. Why do you look so sad? Is something wrong?

Student:

Yeah. I got into a bike accident and now my body hurts.

Tutor:

Really? What happened? Did you fall?

Student:

Yeah. I fell off my bike and smashed into my dad’s hotdog shop.

Tutor:

Ouch, that’s too bad. What did your dad say?

Student:

He got so mad at me and asked me to pay for all of the hotdogs!

TRY IT AGAIN!

Reread the sentence below.

He got so mad at me and asked me to pay for all of the hotdogs!