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My mother tongue, Korean, has no sounds for /ӕ/ and /ɑ/; and are a bit similar to each of them respectively. So it’s very hard to catch those sounds. Would you let me know what sound does the audio make for valuable?

  • /vӕljuəbl/

  • /vɑljuəbl/

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    It's the first one: væljʊəb(ə)l. Take a look at this
    – hjpotter92
    Mar 5 '13 at 8:49
  • The vowel in the stressed syllable is, as Dream Eater says, /ӕ/. The part representing orthographic <ua> however is not pronounced as two vowels or a diphthong (in fact practically nobody says it that way) but a single unstressed vowel—I think the reduced rounded vowel [ʊ̈]. So: /vӕljʊ̈bl/ Mar 5 '13 at 13:49
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    @StoneyB- I think when I say that word it depends on what I want it to mean. If I say, "That watch is valuable" I say it as you've described with a [jʊ̈]. But if I want to say that soemthing is capable of being appraised then it is value-able (Granted it's not often that I get to use that second pronunciation.)
    – Jim
    Mar 5 '13 at 14:59
  • @Jim I agree as to both the alternative pronunciation and its infrequent necessity. :) Mar 5 '13 at 16:50
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    All your "distinguish /ӕ/ and /ɑ/" questions seem to be before /l/. I know that in American English, these vowels are altered slightly before /l/. This may also be true in British English, and may be confusing you. If this is also true in Korean, it would be really confusing. Mar 20 '13 at 19:57
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Referring to @Yes I use MUMPS comment, I'll just put my (and @StoneyB's) comments as answers.

The pronunciation is væljʊəb(ə)l. See this EL&U answer by John Lawler:

The letter æ was used in Old English to represent the vowel that's pronounced in Modern English ash, fan, happy, and last: /æ/. Mostly we now spell that vowel with the letter a, because of the Great Vowel Shift.

When æ appears in writing Modern English, it's meant to be a font variant of ae, and is pronounced the same as that sequence of vowel letters would be.

The vowel in the stressed syllable is /ӕ/. The part representing orthographic <ua> however is not pronounced as two vowels or a diphthong (in fact practically nobody says it that way) but a single unstressed vowel—I think the reduced rounded vowel [ʊ̈].

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