a is used in these images to indicate
(Complete IPA chart with sound here.)
But, as a native Romanian speaker, when I try to pronounce correctly an Italian word like "casa" (house), I have to go rather far away from my Romanian "a" of the otherwise similar word "casa" (the house).
On the one hand, I definitely keep my mouth less open when I say "a" in Romanian than when I try to pronounce it like in Italian (contrary to what I see in the images; but those representations were not made in relation to one another, so that doesn't really count: it might very well be that the authors of the Romanian chart wanted to represent a much more closed position than what was intended for Italian). On the other hand, when I hear the Italian "casa" - like here , here or here it definitely seems to me much closer to the front "a"
[a] - at least relative to the Romanian sound.
Here's how I say in Romanian casa mea - casa ("my house" - "the house").
For the sake of argument I'd say that what I hear is closer to this:
(- and that only vaguely and relatively to one another; I could imagine pushing Romanian "a" even more to the right and up, closer to English
[ʌ], like in
It seems to me that internet audio resources focused on Romanian pronunciation take little account of the open-close (and none at all of the back-front) variability of the open unrounded vowel, and that the it is pronounced differently (closer to Italian, more open) when separate - than when it is used in a word. I think I've noticed that here or here.
(I notice that in such examples Romanian words are pronounced with a bit more open "a" than what happens in a fluent phrase. In the latter example I even suspect a self-awareness of comparison to Italian from the part of the Romanian speaker, so she says it "clearer", more open, and thus closer to Italian. The purpose of such videos is just to show "how one says it" in Romanian, what the word is - beside the fact that when it comes to Italian showing probable similarity is the purpose; and the phonemic/phonetic aspect is overlooked. -- I have even noticed in Romanian more than in other cases that people tend to think that not only there must be just one vowel per letter and one letter per vowel in Romanian, but that a Romanian vowel like "a" must be the same in other languages.)
I guess the difference from Italian can be noticed more in longer phrases, like here.
How different is the Romanian "a" from the Italian one if at all?
I know that slight differences are to be expected anyway. But am I totally wrong in what I've argued above?