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How to tell /aʊn/ from /ɑːn/?

It is hard for me to tell the difference when listening to the words, fond and found, bond and bound. They are almost the same. I always ignore the /ʊ/ sound in /aʊn/ in the words such as found, bound, count, mount, around, ground.

It is also strange for me to pronounce /aʊn/ in one beat (hit, or rhyme?). I would read /aʊ-ən/ to pronounce /aʊn/. For instance, bound would be pronounced as bow - (a)nd in two beats when I see the phonetic symbols in the dictionary. However, I say bond for bound in sentences.

By the way, how to pronounce /aʊn/ correctly?

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I would read /aʊ-ən/ to pronounce /aʊn/.

You obviously can do it, because you already do it. But you should not. According to your question, you actually understand the differences, but have difficulty using the correct pronunciation - typical for beginners, starting to use new sounds or new sound sequences.


For your words, the correct pronunciations (using just standard letters) are:

  • fond -> [fond]

  • found -> [faund]

  • bond -> [bond]

  • bound -> [baund]

Please notice that they are all 1-syllable words.

Please do not read:

  • found -> [fa-und]

  • bound -> [ba-und].

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  • Although I do hear native speakers in the UK sometimes make it sounds like 1.5 syllables [Ho-w-und running through the W], but that's usually due to a regional accent - Just like you sometimes hear someone saying 'No' as 'Noah' - it's usually to indicate annoyance and put emphasis on the word. It's not received pronunciation anyway.
    – Smock
    Jun 20 '19 at 11:09

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