A as in apple

red apple courtesy of  acorn is blogThe letter A can make a number of different sound but in this case, we are going to explore the sound it makes in the word “apple”. This is the sound many of us are most familiar with for the letter A.

The international phonetic alphabet (IPA) symbol for this sound is [æ]

Take a quick look at our table below to see if your language is represented. If it is, does it contain the same [æ] sound?


If your language is not here try the Phonetic Inventory OR check your bilingual dictionary but note the IPA symbols might not be the same even if the sound in the example is.

No Short Vowel?

If there is not a short vowel [æ] sound in your language look for something similar. The long vowel [ɑː] found in the English word “father” is similar and with a slight movement of your tongue, you will be pronouncing the short [æ] in no time.

Step 1. Pronounce the long sound [ɑː]. You will notice that it is spoken in the middle of the mouth.

Step 2. Move the sound to the front of your mouth by pushing the middle of your tongue towards your teeth without restricting the sound.

Step 3. Listen to our audio files containing short vowels to help you find the right sound.

Spell the æ sound

Here are two ways to spell æ

  • a
  • ai*

* spelling is not commonly used

You will often find the æ sound on the first letter a within an English word.

In the word “animal”, the first A carries the æ sound where as the second A carries a schwa (unstressed vowel) sound.

Listen to the difference in our “Try It” section below and Audio Lounge.

Try it!

Try these words (happy, planet, sand, animal, value, daddy, cat, apple, plait).

Pause between each word and try it yourself.

Record your attempts in our English Audio Lounge and play them back. Compare your English sounds with ours to hear any differences.

Image of Red Apple is courtesy of blog.acorn-is.com

You might also be interested in…

Phonetic Inventory
Short Vowels
Using Best Ways to Say

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