today I was wondering whether there is any difference in pronunciation of "love" and "laugh", especially in "Oxford English"/"RP English"? In my opinion it's hard to differentiate between these 2 words, because most people on tv say it in the same way. Something like "laaf" or the mid-sound bait shorter "laf".

When I say it, I use the following: love: it is with a mixture of an "a" and "o" sound laugh: it is with a relatively clear "a" sound

What is right or what is the "Oxford English"/"RP English" way to say "love" and "laugh"?

  • 1
    If you want to learn RP pronunciation, you'll need to learn a clearer way to transcribe sounds than your current method. I can't tell what you mean by "a mixture of an 'a' and 'o' sound" or "a relatively clear 'a' sound." English learner's dictionaries use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and transcribe these words in the following way: love /lʌv/ laugh /lɑːf/. Both the vowels and the final consonants are different.
    – sumelic
    Jul 26, 2016 at 7:18

2 Answers 2


I think clicking on the website below to listen to the pronunciation, you may tell the difference between them clearer.

Love - verb

Laugh - verb

You may refer to Oxford Dictionary to find more.


The vowel of 'laugh' (/ɑː/) is supposed to be a bit longer and more open than that of 'love' in Oxford English. By 'longer', I mean the duration of the vowel, but vowel length isn't that important. 'Open' means your mouth is more open for articulating this vowel.

The vowel of 'love' /ʌ/ is lax and a tiny bit closer than /ɑ/, meaning your mouth isn't fully open as it is in /ɑ/.

Another distinguishing feature is the terminal consonant: in 'laugh', it's a voiceless consonant—/f/ while in 'love', the final consonant is voiced—/v/.

love: it is with a mixture of an "a" and "o" sound laugh: it is with a relatively clear "a" sound

In Oxford English, both the words have unrounded vowels, meaning your lips aren't rounded while saying those vowels. O is a rounded vowel, so it's not quite right to say 'love' with a rounded vowel.

'Voiced' consonant involves vibration in the throat, while 'voiceless' doesn't.

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