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I believe that I can pronounce the words 'call' and 'balloon'

"a" in call sounds like "o". To me, there is no difference between "a" in balloon and "u" in lunch. How can we distinguish between them?

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Actually, the "a" in "balloon" is more like the last vowel in "mother" (just before "r"). The English language does not have a dedicated letter to represent this sound.

The "a" in "lunch" is just a clear "a", like in "u" in "rush", or "u" in "jump", "u" in "cup"...

(I provided links to the definitions of the words with graphical representation of the pronunciation and audio sample.)


Question to self: is "a" ever pronounced as "a" in English? :)

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    What does a “clear "a" ” mean? The letter "a" depending on its position can be pronounced in more than one way. – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '19 at 8:57
  • Good question :) I will update the answer. I am also familiar with languages where "a" is always associated with only one specific sound. – virolino Sep 20 '19 at 8:59
  • You'd be better off reproducing and linking a dictionary's listed pronunciation. Merriam-Webster or Lexico are fine online dictionaries. Not my downvote! – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '19 at 9:05
  • Virolino - "The "a" in "lunch" is just a clear "a", like in "u" in "rush", or "u" in "jump", "u" in "cup"..." What? There is no 'a' in 'lunch', at least none that I can see. – Michael Harvey Sep 20 '19 at 10:56
  • When I said "a" I was obviously referring to he sound And sounds are to be heard, not seen. I understand that it looks confusing - it is actually confusing. Letters change their pronunciation too much and too often in English. E.g., the letter "c" in "Pacific" is read each time differently. The standardized notation for sounds (presented in online dictionaries, or on Wikipedia) is hurting more than helping - referring here to average Joe's, not linguistic experts. – virolino Sep 20 '19 at 11:01

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