Hello there! This is the “Sounds American” channel. In this video we’re going to talk about
the American vowel sound /æ/, as in the word “cat.” You can also hear this sound in words like “at,” “half,” “man,” or “laugh.” We’ll be using a special phonetic symbol – /æ/ – for this sound. The /æ/ is specific to English, as the majority of languages don’t have this sound. That’s the reason why many people distort the /æ/ or replace it with other vowels. Let’s learn how to pronounce this sound the right (American) way. OK. To pronounce the /æ/ sound, you should focus on the correct position of your tongue and jaw. Open your mouth as wide as possible, slightly spread your lips, and tense them. Tense your tongue, flatten it, and push it forward. Your tongue should be positioned very low in your mouth. The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth. Remember, the /æ/ is a very open vowel sound, so your jaw should be very low and your tongue should be very flat. Now, let’s try saying it: /æ/ /æ/ /æ/ Now, let’s practice this sound in some words. You’ll see a word on a screen and hear
its pronunciation. Like this: You’ll have a few seconds to pronounce the word, if you want to. [sound prompt to start speaking] Let’s begin! You’re done! Congratulations! By the way, the /æ/ is almost always written as the letter ‘a.’ And more on the spelling: the letter ‘a’ stands for the /æ/ sound, as in the word “cat,” in 97% of cases. The remaining 3% are split between the combination of letters ‘al,’ as in the word “half,” and ‘au,’ as in the word “laugh.” Thanks for watching! Hope you find it useful. Stay tuned on our Sounds American channel!