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/ah/ as in father (and coffee, job and office)

In American English, as you know, spelling can be deceiving.
Many words that are spelled with ‘o’, have no pure /o/ sound in them, but rather, the open vowel AHHHH (yes, the same sound you make when you sigh).
In this lesson, I’ll teach you how to pronounce the /ah/ as in father and how to use it in words like office, job, coffee, option and more.


Hey guys, it’s Hadar and this is The Accent’s Way. Today we’re going to talk about how to pronounce the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ vowel sound. This vowel sound is very frequent and very common in
American English. However it is often a very confusing sound for non-native speakers because of the spelling. The ‘ah’ as in father appears in words like ‘father’, but also in words that are spelled with ‘O’, as in ‘office’, ‘job’, ‘possible’. Non-native speakers usually associated the vowel letter with a pure vowel sound, therefore pronouncing this ‘O’ as “oh” – “oh-fice”, “johb”, “proh-blem”.

Whereas it’s actually a back open ‘ah’ sound – “aa-fis”, “jaab”, “praa-blm”. You want to think of it as if it has two A’s in the spelling rather than an ‘O’ – “ah”. To make this sound you have to open your mouth quite a lot. You have to relax your jaw – “ah” – right? You don’t need to force open your mouth – “ah” – but just relax. “Ah”. The lips are totally relaxed, maybe rounded just a bit – “ah”. Not too much because then it’s gonna sound like “oh” “oh”, and we don’t want that. “Ah”. The back of the tongue pulls back and it’s really low. If it’s high “ah” “ah”, it’s gonna sound like a central “uh” sound like in ‘cup’, and we don’t want that. We want more of a back “ah” as in ‘cop’. “Ah” “ah”.

Let’s practice few more words: “possible”, “opportunity”, “possibility”. “Paa-s’-bi-l’-dee” and not “poh-s’-bi-l’-dee”. “Naat” and not “noht”. “Kaa-fee” and not “coh-fee”. “Kaa” – “kaa-fee”. “Ah”, “ah”. You want to relax your jaw, relax your lips, open your mouth and pronounce it as a back open ‘ah’ sound – “ah”.

Okay, that’s it! So turn those “oh” into “ah”s. Just sigh a lot – “ah”. Common spelling pattern of the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ is, of course ‘O’. ‘A’ as in ‘father’, but that’s more rare. ‘OU’ as in ‘thought’. ‘AW’ as in ‘awesome’. Some people may pronounce it with more rounded lips – “awesome” – especially on the East Coast. That’s also okay. Choose the pronunciation that you are comfortable with because you can merge these two sounds – the “awe” for ‘awesome’ and ‘ah’ for ‘awesome’. Right? So if you’re more comfortable with pronouncing it as the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’, go for it. “Ah”. Okay?So, great job. Great job. “Jaab”. Now, I’m gonna go get some coffee.

Okay! Leave me a comment below. Tell me if it’s an easy sound for you, and if not what’s difficult about it and practice practice practice, because that’s what’s gonna make it better and that’s how you’re going to improve your pronunciation. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye!

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
255. The letter O in 'coffee', 'job', and 'office'

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