There are questions on ELU about the phonemic transcriptions of orange in both British and American English in dictionaries.

However, this being a site for linguists and all that, I thought I would indulge myself in a question about how people pronounce orange, in terms of what sounds they actually make and the qualities of those sounds in 'minutiae'.

What are some narrow transcriptions of the word orange that we might expect in standard Englishes (with a segment by segment explanation)? If you have any interesting narrow transcriptions of non-standard English varieties, also with explanations of the finer features, those would be very welcome too.


1 Answer 1


Here are the transcriptions given in J. C. Wells's Longman Pronunciation Dictionary for orange :

  • British English, /'ɒrɪndʒ/, (less frequent) /'ɒrəndʒ/
  • American English, /'ɔ:rəndʒ/, /'ɔ:rɪndʒ/, /'ɑ:rəndʒ/, /'ɑ:rɪndʒ/

In American English, /ɔ:/ corresponds to the vowel sound in war, /ɑ:/ to the sound that can be found in odd.

/d/ can be omitted.

In AmE, the preference poll conducted by Wells for the pronunciation of orange gives the following results:

  • /'ɔ:rəndʒ/ or /'ɔ:rɪndʒ/ 80%
  • /'ɑ:rəndʒ/ or /'ɑ:rɪndʒ/ 20%
  • In British English, /ɑ:/ is not the vowel in odd; it's /ɒ/. We don't have that vowel in American English, which is why we're confused about how to pronounce orange. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:07
  • 1
    @PeterShor /ɑ:/ is Wells's conventional sign for the transcription of the sound in "odd" as pronounced in American varieties of English. He uses /ɒ/ for the "odd" sound in his trancription of British English. I don't think there's any confusion in how "orange" is pronounced in America, just two different ways of pronouncing it, one more common, the other less so.
    – grandtout
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:58
  • @PeterShor I've changed the answer a bit, I don't mean to use BrE as a standard. Wells has two different systems of transcription for each variety that are clearly kept apart in the entries of his dictionary. BrE and AmE are not described relatively to each other.
    – grandtout
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:14
  • I realized you had changed your answer, which is why I deleted my second comment. You've fixed the flaw I was complaining about. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:16
  • @Jim I've checked in the LPD, both are possible in AmE, with no indication of frequency though. I'll amend the answer.
    – grandtout
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:36

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