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Home » Audio » R-Colored Vowel Sound /ɑr/ as in “car” – American English Pronunciation

R-Colored Vowel Sound /ɑr/ as in “car” – American English Pronunciation

The /ɑr/ may not seem a tricky sound to learn. Once you know how to pronounce and merge the /ɑ/ and /r/ sounds, it’s just a matter of practice. However, the /ɑr/ is often confused with other r-colored vowels as their spelling is often misleading. Compare: “scar” – “scare” or “far” – “fare.”
In this video, you’ll find out how to make the /ɑr/ sound and how to avoid the most typical pronunciation mistakes. As usual, there’s a pronunciation exercise recorded by a professional speech therapist.
Quick Links:
• Recap from the R-colored vowels overview: 00:36
• How to make the /ɑr/ sound: 01:20
• Typical pronunciation mistakes: 02:54
• Pronunciation exercise: 04:36
• Spelling for the /ɑr/ sound: 08:18

Related Videos:
► R-Colored Vowel Sounds Overview:
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɝ / as in “first”:
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɚ / as in “after”:
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɪr / as in “hero”:
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɛr / as in “chair”:
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɑr / as in “car”: this video
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / ɔr / as in “sport”: work in progress
► R-Colored Vowel Sound / aɪr / as in “fire”: work in progress
► Consonant Sound / r / as in “run”:
► Interactive Vowel Sounds Chart:

Hello there! This is the “Sounds American” channel.
In this video, we’re going to talk about the American R-colored vowel /ɑr/,
as in the word “car.”
You can also hear this sound in words like “park,” “art,” “heart,” or “far.”
We’ll be using special phonetic symbols — /ɑr/ — for this sound.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned in the R-Colored Vowels Overview video:
• The /ɑr/ is one of the seven American R-colored vowel sounds.
• The /ɑr/ is an R-colored diphthong…
• …and it’s made by merging the /ɑ/ and the /r/ sounds.
• As with all R-colored vowel sounds, the /ɑr/ is often distorted by non-native English speakers.
• The spelling for R-colored vowels could be confusing.

Now, let’s find out how to pronounce this R-colored vowel.
To make the /ɑr/ sound correctly, focus on pronouncing two sounds and making a smooth connection between them.
This is how you do that.
Start with making the /ɑ/ sound.
Open your mouth as wide as possible. Relax your lips and allow them to rest in a neutral position.

Now, let’s move your tongue in the correct position for the /ɑ/ vowel.

Place your tongue very low in the center of your mouth and make it flat.
The tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom front teeth.

Next, connect the /ɑ/ to the /r/ sound with a long gliding movement.
Slightly round your lips.
Curl back the tip of your tongue.
Now, slightly lower the center of your tongue and raise its back.
Your tongue should be tensed.
Now, let’s color the /ɑ/ with the /r/ and blend the two sounds together: /ɑr/, /ɑr/, /ɑr/.
Let’s talk about the most typical mistakes that people make when pronouncing the /ɑr/ sound.

1. Many non-native English speakers reduce the /r/ sound in the /ɑr/ vowel.
This would be fine in British English, but an American accent requires the /r/ to be pronounced.
So, if you reduce the /r/, your American /ɑr/ sound will be distorted, and it may lead to misunderstandings.
“car” — “car”
“park’ — “park”

2. Some non-native speakers pronounce the /r/ in the /ɑr/, but they trill it. Remember, Americans never trill their R-colored vowel sounds.
“car”– “car”
“park” — “park”
How do you avoid trilling? The tip of your tongue should never touch the alveolar ridge when you pronounce the R-colored sounds.
Remember, if you want to sound like an American, don’t reduce the /r/ when pronouncing the R-colored vowels and avoid trilling them.
Now, let’s practice the /ɑr/ sound in some words.
[Pronunciation exercise]
• alarm
• apartment
• are
• army
• art
• article
• bar
• bark
• barn
• car
• card
• carpet
• cart
• charge
• charm
• dark
• darling
• department
• farm
• garbage
• garden
• guard
• guitar
• hard
• hardware
• harmony
• heart
• large
• marble
• parcel
• pardon
• park
• part
• partner
• party
• scar
• star
• start
• tardy
• yard
R-Colored Vowel Sound /ɑr/ as in “car” – American English Pronunciation

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