The short “a” and long “a” (æ and eɪ ) sounds

Welcome to our new series looking at pronciation and phonics.

English pronunciation can be tricky sometimes as the way we write words can vary. The same sound can be made with different combinations of letters. Something helpful we can use is the phonemic chart, which shows us all the sounds we have in English. The chart is below


The chart has every sound we use in English but there are different ways to write the sounds using standard letters. Today we are going to look at the short “a” sound – æ and the long “a” sound – eɪ


This is the short ‘a’ vowel sound we use with the following words


This is the long ‘a’ vowel sound we use. It sounds the same as the name for the letter, A but watchout! – there are lots of ways to write this sound.

For example, words spelt with a_e

inglesenmadridphonics ae

We also use it for words spelt with ai



and with words ending with ay



occasionally we also use it with words spelt with eigh



and as always there are some exceptions

grey, great cafe

so to recap

æ = a – a short “a” sound

=a_e, ai, ay, eigh, a long “a” sound, like the letter a

If you learn these letter combinations and remember that they all have the same sound, it will be easier to pronounce new words when you see them.

More phonics coming soon!!!

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