Jim Johnson dives into the bottom right of the vowel chart to explain three symbols:
/ɑ/ as in father (called the palm lexical set, which is confusing for a lot of people)
/ɒ/ as in lot or cloth (though a lot of Americans don’t say either as this sound… confusing!)
/ɔ/ as in thought or all (that was pretty easy…)
I like to call this “Hell’s Corner” on the vowel chart! Sooo many people get confused by this partially because people can’t find a good example word for each of them, and they can vary so much in people’s accents. But knowing and understanding these sounds is incredibly essential to working on a LOT of accents. It’s one of the keys that a lot of Americans miss when working on some of the accents of England, such as an upper-class British accent, but it’s also present in some American accents. Knowing about the distinctions is essential, for example, if you’re trying to make a Boston accent not sound like a Brooklyn accent. This distinction is also something that a lot of Canadian speakers make, especially further west than Toronto.
I’m using lot a lot…
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