A baboon played the bassoon


Senior Member
English, U.S.
My impression is
AE: A b[æ]boon played the b[ə]ssoon.
BE: A b[ə]boon played the b[æ]ssoon.
Am I right about this, and if so, why?
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I use [ə] in both. I'm not sure if I've ever heard the other for either, but they wouldn't sound outlandish.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    If I am going to use /æ/ in either word, it would be in baboon. However, in normal speech, I'd use /ə/ for both, like the other BrE speakers. I cannot imagine using /æ/ in bassoon.


    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm not a reader of the phonetic symbols, but the "ba"s in "The bad baboon played the bassoon badly" all sound the same to me.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    The WR dictionary does show /bəˈsun/ as an acceptable variant in AE, but I don't recall hearing that.
    I don't think I've ever heard anything other than that (/bəˈsun/). Certainly, the first syllables of "bassoon" and "basset horn" sound very different for me.
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