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I would like to know why the [ɒ] in not often sounds different (more rounded) than the [ɒ] in hot, father, or car in American English.

I know that in British English the vowel in not is an [ɔ], but I've been taught that in American English it is an [ɒ], as in hot. However, I've noticed that the majority of Americans do not pronounce the vowel in not exactly the same as the vowel in hot; most of them produce a more rounded (and sometimes shorter) sound, similar to an [ɔ], as in dog.

For example, in the phrase It's not like that the [ɒ] in not is usually pronounced quickly and more rounded, as if it were almost a British [ɔ].

Why is this so?

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    I (in the US) don't pronounce the vowel sounds of the two identically, but it's very close, probably not enough difference to be noticed unless you're specifically listening. I detect more of an "ah" sound in "hot". I kind of sense that this difference occurs because the mouth was previously configured to make the "h" sound and doesn't quite return to "neutral" before the vowel -- not really intentional, but simply due to speech mechanics. It's harder to say about "father" and "car". – Hot Licks Nov 7 '15 at 1:21
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    I pronounce not the same as hot, knot, cot, bot, and got. – michael_timofeev Nov 7 '15 at 2:40
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    You seem to think that all Americans talk alike. We don't. I don't pronounce not differently from hot. But it's quite possible that some American use the vowel of caught and dog for not. Where are the Americans you're hearing this from? – Peter Shor Nov 7 '15 at 2:54
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    What region of the US are you referring to? I pronounce them the same in the midwest. There are some regional accents that elongate the sound - like "nawt" - but they would do the same with both words. – TomMcW Nov 7 '15 at 3:12
  • I pronounce the vowels in hot, father, and car all slightly differently, but hot is the same as not, and I'm from New Jersey. – Matt Samuel Nov 7 '15 at 3:50
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In my experience (SE US), I don't hear this. The [ɒ] in not is pronounced the same as in hot. In the word "naughty", I do sometime here the British pronunciation, I suspect because of the "augh". This happens even more with "haughty", again, I suspect because of the "augh" and possibly avoid confusion with obscure (in the US) slang word "hotty".

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In a sentence the O would definitely sound shorter (American English). It's still subtle to my ear, though. You can still hear the "aw" sound.

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Have you been listening to a lot of British English? In British English, one of the major differences between /ɒ/ (not, hot) on the one hand and /ɔː/ (caught) and /ɑː/ (path) on the other, is that /ɒ/ is shorter. Most Americans don't pronounce the vowel in not any differently than the vowel in hot, but we often shorten the vowel in not, because it's a function word. So maybe you're hearing this length difference and assigning the vowel to /ɒ/.

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