[ˈfɑðɹ̩]     father
[bɑt]     bought *
[kɑt]     cot, caught *
[lɑ]     law *


This symbol is called "script A", because it's the kind of A you would make when hand-writing. The kind of A that looks like it's typewritten, [a], is a different IPA symbol representing a different sound (you can see it as part of [aj] and [aw]).

You will occasionally see this symbol printed or typed as [a] by people who are too lazy to make it [ɑ]. They are bad, bad people. Never imitate them.

(* If you don't think cot and caught sound the same or that law and father have the same vowel, then you're not from Manitoba, are you? A fuller explanation can be found on the open-o page, but for now, just relax.)


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