http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/~kjohnson/English_Phonetics/ Listen to Example 5 please

I thought it had some roundedness to it. Is the vowel in this example really [ɑ]?

1 Answer 1


I agree; I'd be inclined to represent the vowel in this pronunciation of ‹want› as somewhere in the CLOTH–THOUGHT ( [ɒ]–[ɔ] ) range.

It's surprising to see this representation in an academic linguistics setting. It leads me to suspect that its source was a phonemic rather than a phonetic transcription: that lower back quadrant of the vowel chart is notoriously fluid, and every dictionary seems to have its own approach to phonological representation.

But I know of no US dialect which pronounces ‹want› with [ɑ].

  • I'm a US speaker who pronounces "want" with [ɑ], and I think this pronunciation is widespread for speakers like me who are cot-caught merged.
    – sumelic
    Apr 29, 2017 at 3:29

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