I think it largely depends on how you pronounce the words in question, but yeah, I don't think there's an ideal equivalent to that vowel sound in English. The way I pronounce "bun" in English would not sound like the a in "mannen," but perhaps with a British pronunciation or something it would. No, I was not thinking of "manen."
Absolutely. We're probably both trying to go by what we perceive as standard variations. I guess it goes to show how difficult that can be. :)
I actually posted a recording of the difference between mannen and männen in another thread a while ago, as requested by another user. Perhaps that can be of use to other learners in this thread as well. Copy-pasting:
Well, that took six attempts because my cat kept meowing into the microphone, but here you go: http://duolingo.vydea.io/82ad2ae475f148df94bbfc59ce33b5ed.mp3
This file contains six separate pronunciations:
- long a sound - as in vasen
- long ä sound - as in väsen
- short a sound - as in mannen
- short ä sound - as in männen
It would probably have made more sense to put the long sounds last, but you'll get the point anyway. :)
Hope this helps!
Welcome to the course, then. I used to be the admin of it until a few months ago, when I had to step down because of health issues. You'll encounter many more sound files and comments in the forums as you go. If you need technical information on the course, or feedback on how the course has been built and how I wanted to improve it, please feel free to ask e.g. Kevin or Myra for my contact details. :)