Before World War II
, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation
was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ], which has since shifted forward towards [ɐ
] (a near-open central unrounded vowel). Daniel Jones
reported his speech (southern British) as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̟] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reported that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel that approached cardinal [a
In American English
varieties, such as in the West, the Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is an open-mid central [ɜ
Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English
, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English
, some of African-American English
, and (old-fashioned) white Southern English
in coastal plain and Piedmont areas.
However, the letter ⟨ʌ⟩ is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ
] or [ɜ
]. That may be because of both tradition and some other dialects retaining the older pronunciation.