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My grandparents were Azorean Portuguese. Both were called Avo - the only difference was the pronunciation of the "o." Very subtle difference. Grandmother was more of an "A vah" Will be a challenge to hear the difference here. When I visited the Azores this last summer, some words (like não) were pronounced differently from one island to another. Obrigada.
I see your point.... when we take other vowels (like ã, õe) we clearly see a more nasal sound. And when we compare to French sometimes it seems like there is no nasal sound. However, some linguistics are used to saying that this ô has a slight nasal sound ( http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1750334). Thanks for posting foam. That helped ;)
This is a little misleading, because in American English (in most regions, maybe not all of them), the o in hot is pronounced like the a in the Spanish word casa. Like ahhhh. A better example would be the English words raw or paw. The a's in those words sound very close to the o in avó.
I'm brazilian and most brazilian people say meu avô and minha avó, and not meu vô and minha vó. Few people speaks like this. I can say they when we speak fast, it seems thar we don't speak the A, but it's not true. Vou ao cinema com minha avó seams "vou au cinema com minhavó"; "vou au cinema com meu avô. There are two words we use as vocative: vovô and vovó, as gran and granny