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I hear American people say found as /faʊnd/. The /aʊ/ sound starts with [æ] (like in cat) and ends with [u] (ooh). However if I look up the word found, the pronunciation is shown as /faʊnd/ but is spoken as [fɑund] ("ah" sound like in car).

Which pronunciation is right, [fæund] or [fɑund]?

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    This type of question should have been solved by a dictionary. If you look online, like here they actually have audio of how it's said.
    – Laurel
    Feb 5 '17 at 20:33
  • It's "faʊnd" as in pound, mound, sound, crowned, frowned. Not sure where you heard "fɑund", it might've been a thick southern accent or something.
    – Nathan
    Feb 6 '17 at 3:27
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The initial sound of the diphthong in found is standardly described as in between the vowel sound of cat and the vowel sound of car. See Pronunciation of the diphthongs /aʊ/ as in “owl” and /aɪ/ as in “why”, https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/288952/in-which-vowel-do-the-diphthongs-aʊ-and-aɪ-start

That said, in my accent the starting point of the vowel in found /faʊnd/ sounds to me closer to the vowel of fat /fæt/ than the vowel of fought /fɑt/ (I won't compare to "cat" becuase that starts with a different consonant that might affect the vowel). When I try to pronounce /ɑʊ/ it sounds pretty foreign.

In other accents, however, the situation may be and probably is different.

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Produce /a/ as in the doctor saying "say ahhh"…. followed by oo as in "soon". Be careful not to over emphasize the oo. The co-articulation (i.e., influence on each other will round and naturalize the production.

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