The phonetics of the word consultant is /kənˈsʌltənt/. My ears heard the part /ʌl/ is exactly the same as the word so /soʊ/. So the question is that both /ʌl/ and /oʊ/ are the same pronunciation, isn't it?

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    I pronounce them differently. I would find it very strange to hear one pronounced in the same way as the other. – Jason Bassford May 29 at 5:51
  • It depends a lot on the person's accent. ul al can come out a bit like ow in a London accent. I don't think it's exactly the same as the vowel in so but I could understand if you heard a similarity. I can't think of any other accent where they are alike. – user339660 May 29 at 6:09

In general, /ʌl/ and /oʊ/ are not pronounced the same.

Vowels before the /l/ sound are prone to merging with other vowel sounds. Most of these vowel mergers occur in some accents, but not in others.

Related to this, in some accents, the /l/ sound itself may be "vocalized", turning into a semivowel or glide like [w] or [ʊ].

So it's not too strange that the ul of consultant and the o of so sound the same to you. But this is not considered to be the "standard" pronunciation of words like consultant, because many speakers still use different pronunciations for ul and o.

  • I got the difference, especially for these 3 words: so, consultant and sound. The /ʌl/ is sitting somewhere between /əʊ/ and /aʊ/. Thank you! – Thanh Quoc May 29 at 6:35

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