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My friend and I are both native speakers of Australian English.

He thinks "one" and "won" sound different and feels "a one-liner" sounds wrong and should be "an one-liner". He does think the two words rhyme, which would indicate they have the same vowel but only "won" begins with a consonant sound, to his ears.

("Won" here is the past-tense of "win", not the currency of Korea.)

So does my friend have a point, or is his thinking affected by spelling, or does it depend on region or speaker after all?

I grew up in Melbourne and he grew up in Brisbane. Australia is well known to lack regional accents though. We both grew up among what linguists call "Broad Australian" speakers, but we are both speakers of "General Australian".

I have always taken an interest in linguistics and my friend has not. I have travelled the world a lot. My accent has changed, and I'm not currently in Australia to go out and listen to people.

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    How exactly does your friend pronounce them differently? I'm an Aussie and am unaware of any regional divergence in the pronunciation of the two words. If your friend thinks the two words rhyme but "one" doesn't start with the "w" sound, do they pronounce it as "un"? That would be very weird (or for your friend, 'eird). – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Jul 16 at 6:39
  • @Chappo: I asked him the same question but he's bad at explaining it. He used terminology like "hard u" and "non-hard u" which I couldn't interpret. I looked at the Wiktionary pronunciation sections for each word and found a surprising mess that said some people don't pronounce them the same but not how they differ. – hippietrail Jul 16 at 7:03
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    The only difference I can imagine anyone making would be between /wʌn ~ wən/ one and /wɔn ~ wɒn/ won. I can’t imagine anyone pronouncing the word with a vowel onset. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 16 at 9:54
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: Me too. For Australia I don't think anyone even uses /wən/, /wɔn/, or /wɒn/. (For the Korean currency sense though it would be /wɒn/.) – hippietrail Jul 16 at 11:21
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    I pronounce one and won in exactly the same way. Nor have I ever heard anybody pronounce them differently. (However, I am not Australian. Still, I have never heard an Australian pronounce them differently either.) You haven't mentioned if, hearing him speak, he actually does pronounce them differently. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 16 at 17:19

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