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The Cambridge Dictionary transcription for the word barn is /bɑːrn/

If someone says this word as /baːrn/ (open front vowel), will this sound foreign to you? Will you notice at all? What will your thoughts be on the speech of a person who changes his /ɑ/'s with /a/'s in words like this?

Wikipedia phonetic alphabet; vowels

I'm not sure what I'm doing but here's me saying /bɑːrn/. and then /baːrn/ : Vocaroo speech example

Can you try it yourself as native speakers?

  • As a note to ELU voters. A nearly-identical question has already been asked and closed on ELL, so if you VTC, please don't vote to migrate to ELL. – Catija Aug 16 '16 at 18:27
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    If somebody says it like /baːrn/ to me, they sound as if they grew up in Boston or thereabouts. But then, I live near Boston; I don't know what it sounds like to Californians or Brits. – Peter Shor Aug 16 '16 at 18:40
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    To answer your question: it's not standard English; it's noticeably different. As I said, it's one of the distinctive features of some New England accents. And Janus would think it was a different word entirely. – Peter Shor Aug 17 '16 at 11:07
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    Americans don't really use /a/; it's halfway between /ɑ/ and /æ/, and it could be taken for either one of these vowels, so it's best to avoid it. Some New England speakers use /ar/ instead of /ɑr/ in words like car and barn, but I don't really understand the details so I won't go into it. – Peter Shor Aug 17 '16 at 23:05
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    As for diphthongs, English speakers don't think of them as a combination of two vowels but as a separate phoneme of their own. The diphthong /ɔɪ/ is not perceived as /ɔ/ followed by /ɪ/. So the vowels in cawing /kɔɪŋ/ are not pronounced the same as the diphthong in coin /kɔɪn/. At least, not by me. And many Americans really do pronounce rice something like /raɪs/. Unlike Australians, who distinguish between /rɑɪs/ (rice) and /ræɪs/ (race). See this webpage. – Peter Shor Aug 17 '16 at 23:10

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