I have the feeling that the word one is not always pronounced in all accents (but I cannot say which exactly) with the same vowel that cup or love. I believe that with accents where we pronounce cup [kɐp], we pronounce one [wɐn], but with accents where we prounouce cup differently, we often pronounce one [wɐn] or even [wän]. Is that a right feeling ?


1 Answer 1


In accents in the north of England, where there happens to be no foot-strut split, a majority of speakers use /ʊ/, realised as [ö], in words like love and cup. This is the same vowel that RP speakers use for the word soot.

I have no idea if this is related in any way, but in many accents in the north of England there is a preference for the vowel /ɒ/, realised as [ɒ], for the word one, giving us the pronunciation [wɒn]. This word then rhymes with words such as don or gone. In contrast for a majority of RP speakers, this word, as noted by the Original Poster, rhymes with sun and would be transcribed as /wʌn/, [wɐn],

Notice that I said for the "majority of RP speakers" in the paragraph above. The renowned Longman Pronunciation Dictionary gives /wɒn/ as a variant of one and a minority of RP speakers do also use it (including me).

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    Does the same variation apply to "once"? Also, did you mean to say "a variant of won" or did you mean "a variant of one"?
    – herisson
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 3:52
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    @sumelic Yes, I believe so. (Definitely majority of RP speakers use strut there). Will have to double-check with some authentic northerners that they definitely use lot vowel there though, although I'm pretty sure they do. I'm an "RP" speaker, but still use lot vowel for "once". Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 3:58
  • But according to the California English vowel chart, this vowel is an open-mid central unrounded vowel, and in video from Californian, I have never heard one pronounced [w3n]. Excuse for IPA, but it is difficult on the iPhone
    – pretuiol
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 11:42
  • @pretuiol It is in SSBE (RP) English too! It's not that /ʌ / can be pronounced as [ɒ], it's that these varieties of British English can have /ɒ / instead of /ʌ / in the word one. In other words there is no /ʌ / vowel (usually pronounced [ɐ], an open-mid central unrounded vowel) at all in these versions of these words :) Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 12:02
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    Oh thanks ! That’s the answer that I expected. I just wanted to know if it was normal and that the vowels and particularly this one could variate, although I couldn’t find any article about this. Thank you.
    – pretuiol
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 0:03

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