While British people mostly seem to speak a hard "a", American people tend to make an "ae" in some cases. Here are some examples of what I mean, grouped by pattern:
It seems like even local accents have an influence on that, but which confuses me most is the word pair "aunt" and "ant".
Because it seems like British people pronounce "ant" different than "can't" even though just the first letter is missing.
And American people seem to be unsure whether they should pronounce their "aunt" like they do their "can't" or like the Englishmen do.
I can see the rule when the "a" is followed by an "r" though: car/care, bar/bare, star/stare, tar/tare ... having said that "are" itself is different again.
But I wonder where the rule (if any) in this is and I hope you can help me.