The symbol /Ã¦/ ('aesc') is used in the International Phonetic alphabet to represent a 'near-open front unrounded vowel' - the sound, in the RP pronunciation of British English, of such words as 'can', 'fat', 'am' and 'at'. This is the sound usually described as a short a (a vowel intermediate between /a/ and /É›/).
This sound is nearly always represented in written English by the letter -a-'. The (rare) exceptions include 'salmon', 'plait', 'plaid', where the letter '-a-' is reinforced by another letter, and 'meringue', where the spelling and pronunciation are essentially French.
- In Old and Middle English, and in some current Scandinavian languages, the sound is still represented by the symbol Ã¦ or Ã† (see also Ã†). In current English print, it will sometimes be reproduced as the separate letters '-a-' and '-e-' by printers whose fonts don't include the ligature, as in 'Aelfred the Great' to represent the original Old English Ã†lfred