I noticed that the diphthong /aʊ/ is pronounced by most British English speakers as [ɑʊ] (I may be inaccurate here).

You can see the vowel /a/ on the vowel diagram below:

Vowel Chart

I understand this diagram quite well and the vowel /a/ is located at left bottom, so when I pronounce the diphthong /aʊ/ with the vowel /a/ (as shown in the diagram), it doesn't sound like the one pronounced by native British English speakers at all. But when I pronounce the diphthong /aʊ/ with the BATH vowel (Southern British English BATH: /ɑː/), it sounds quite normal.

Also listen to the following YouTube videos you will observe:

(copied with exact time)

Is the diphthong /aʊ/ generally realized as [ɑʊ] in Southern British English (also called "Modern RP")? (I would also be interested to know how American speakers pronounce it generally.)

  • I am also unsure about the vowel /ʊ/. I don't know if it is realized exactly as [ʊ] or something else but that is a completely different question, I guess. – Sphinx Feb 20 at 15:11
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    'Bath' is pronounced in a number of different ways in Britain. – Michael Harvey Feb 20 at 16:08
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    This Wikipedia page says that "conservative RP" realizes it as [ɑʊ], and "contemporary RP" realizes it as [aʊ]. So you clearly can hear it realized both ways. There are many, many more dialects of British English than these, and I don't think it's "generally realized" in just one way. – Peter Shor Feb 20 at 20:14
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    Prof. Uta-Frith is not a native English speaker and her German accent can be easily heard. Prof. Brian Cox was born in Oldham and speaks with a pronounced Oldham accent. In short - neither speaks RP nor is their accent at all "typical". – Greybeard Feb 26 at 20:45
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    It may be worth noting that in a Sussex accent (can't really get more Southern British), words written "ou" are pronounced [øu]. – Andrew Leach Feb 28 at 8:48

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