These are both low, tense vowels. However, /æ/ is a front vowel, and /ɑ/ is a central vowel. When you pronounce /æ/, your tongue should be near the front of your mouth and your lips should be spread wide.
You can hear the difference between /æ/ and /ɑ/ in these words.
1. A. sack, B. sock 2. A. cap, B. cop 3. A. math, B. moth 4. A. band, B. bond 5. A. jab, B. job 6. A. lagged, B. logged
Listen and repeat these words:
1. sat 2. cap 3. bag 4. pack 5. crash 6. path 7. have 8. match 9. pal 10. strand
11. grasp 12. passion 13. nasty 14. translate 15. challenge 16. capital 17. example 18. attitude 19. attachment 20. collaborate
Now, practice /æ/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
1. had - bad - accident - Saturday She had a bad accident on Saturday 2. saxophone - jazz - band He plays saxophone for a jazz band 3. family - travel - California My family is travelling to California. 4. absent - class - last You were absent from class last week. 5. example - bad - habit Can you give me an example of a bad habit? 6. haven't - had - chance - answer I haven't had a chance to answer your e-mail.
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