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Ion
/ˈaɪən $ ˈaɪən, ˈaɪɑːn/
(LDOCE Online)

OR

Ion
UK ​ /ˈaɪ.ɒn/ US ​ /ˈaɪ.ɑːn/
(Cambridge Dictionary)

Why does the pronunciation of these two words differ in these two sites?

3

It's a partial difference between American and British English. In American English, only /ˈaɪ.ɑːn/ is correct. In British English, it appears that both /ˈaɪ.ɑːn/ and /ˈaɪən/ are acceptable.

/ˈaɪ.ɑːn/ may be more prevalent or technically correct in the UK, and so Cambridge decided to only use it, though Longman and other sources (such as Wiktionary) probably decided to include pronunciations that many people use, even if it's less correct.

Of the two, since /ˈaɪ.ɑ(ː)n/ is correct in both UK and US English, I would recommend using that pronunciation.

(It's also worth noting that the difference between /ɑː/, /ɑ/, and /ɒ/ is generally non-existent among native speakers, especially in non-stressed syllables. They all represent the same phoneme, even if the realization is slightly different.)

  • "/ˈaɪ.ɑːn/ may be more prevalent or technically correct in the UK"?? But these websites say something else: 1.(LDOCE online) Ion /ˈaɪən/ 2.(Cambridge Dictionary) Ion UK ​ /ˈaɪ.ɒn/ – AmirhoseinRiazi Aug 17 '18 at 9:24
  • The difference between /ɑː/, /ɑ/, and /ɒ/ is generally non-existent among native speakers, especially in non-stressed syllables. They all represent the same phoneme, even if the realization is slightly different. The only real difference between the pronunciations you listed is between the /ən/ and the /ɑn/. For this difference, each dictionary either (1) does not present /ən/ at all, or makes it one option of two for the UK English. – Drazex Aug 17 '18 at 9:29
  • apologies, I cannot read phonetics at all, except maybe ə, however, the UK pronunciation of ion may be to differentiate from iron, which has no 'r' sound at all, but does have the ə – gone fishin' again. Aug 17 '18 at 9:29
  • 1
    @Tetsujin The difference is basically just between "aye-ehn" and "aye-on", and the nuances of how rounded or unrounded the "on" is, according to various dictionaries. – Drazex Aug 17 '18 at 9:30
  • @Drazex - thanks for that. In that case "aye-ehn" is 'iron' & "aye-on" is 'ion'. – gone fishin' again. Aug 17 '18 at 9:31

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