When coaching people on how to improve their American accent I frequently hear people say
LUNCH when they intend to say LAUNCH.
That’s because these two words sound ALMOST the same.
Here’s how to pronounce lunch and launch distinctly.
The vowel sound in the word lunch is /ʌ/ as in Mustard. It’s a very neutral vowel sound.
Think of it like “uh”. “UH” as in Mustard.
The vowel sound in the word launch is /ɑ/ as in Olive. Lower your tongue to make this sound.
Think of it like “ah”. “AH” as in Olive. You may even want to pull your tongue back a little bit.
You can use this questions and sentences to practice the difference.
- How was your PRODUCT LAUNCH?
- How was your lunch?
- We’ll go to LUNCH after the LAUNCH.
Listen for the /ɑ/ as in Olive sound when you’re speaking with Americans.
It’s a VERY common. That’s because the letters O and AU are frequently pronounce with /ɑ/ as in Olive sound.
About the author
Susan Ryan is an American English communication and accent reduction coach.