Many English speakers (American) confuse the short vowel 'a' sound [æ] with the short vowel 'o' [ɒ]. Why? To be clear: The short vowel 'a' as in: apple, at, tap, clap, snack, pat, etc... Compared to the short vowel 'o' as in: top, octopus, octave, pot, hot, etc... Many English speakers, when asked, will say that the short vowel 'a' makes the short vowel 'o' sound as in the word 'ah'. Or, another example may be a short-vowel 'o' at the front of amen, or the 'a' in the word pass (but not normally). I was under the impression that a word like amen, has a schwa at the front? But, when I looked it up, I didn't see a schwa. And to be honest, those schwa's are pretty much like magic. Yes, yes, I know, they give English our rhythm, and allow us to speak faster than if we pronounced the vowels, but come on? Who makes these rules?! Plus, I'm next to tone deaf Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! Not that I couldn't hear tone, but only that I wasn't taught to recognize it. Anyway, what got me thinking about this was that in Japanese, the hiragana あ is written in romanji (roman) using an 'a' though it is pronounced in English as the short vowel 'o' as in [ɒ]. So, that's interesting as well. Of course, they have an 'o' as one of their 5 vowels, so they may have decided 'a' was best at the beginning - and we do use it as [ɒ] on occasion.