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What is sound of symbol 'a' in pronunciation for example as sycophancy,phantom?

sound a is similar to cat or is it similar to father?


  • @aranjan418, I can't tell you what the sound is without speaking to you. But I can try to answer this question

    Do the four letters phan signal the same sound in the words sycophancy and phantom?

    Let's start with the letters ph. In these two words and many others, they have the same sound as f.

    So we can ask

    Do the four letters phan signal the same sound as the three-letter word fan?

    1. With the word phantom, the answer is yes.

    2. With the word sycophancy, the answer is more complicated.

      • Some speakers pronounce the word with nearly the same sound.
      • Some speakers pronounce it with a different sound.

    Now we have to look at English STRESS.

    • Phantom is divided int two syllables: 1. phan : 2. tom
    • Sycophancy is divided into four syllables: 1. sy : 2. co : 3. phan : 4. cy
    • In each word, one syllable is pronounced with word stress
    • For most speakers these are the first in both words: PHANtom and SYcophancy
    • For all speakers, some syllable are unstressed
    • For some speakers, the third syllable in sycophancy is pronounced with some stress, but not as much as the first syllable. This is called secondary stress.

    So, the speakers who have two stresses SYcoPHANcy pronouns phan with the same sound as fan — except that it isn't with the word stress.

    But other speakers have only one stress, so the third syllable has the same little grunt sound as the second syllable of phantom.

    Some dictionaries use the symbol ə for this little grunt sound.

    Another word spelled with these four letters is orphan. All speakers have one stress, so the second syllable has the unstressed sound.

    So the answer to my question is

    • All speakers pronounce the letters phan in phantom in the same way as the word fan.
    • Some speakers pronounce the letters phan in sycophancy in nearly the same way as the word fan.
    • Other speakers pronounce the letters phan in sycophancy in the same way as in the word orphan.
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