Originally, this question here didn't necessarily seem well put. It wasn't clear exactly what aspects of the pronunciation of the cor/com/con/col prefix the Origninal Poster should be worried about. I've had a bit of an edit of the question. I think that from a phonetics and phonology point of view, it's actually got some gristle worthy of a site for linguists and enthusiasts of English. Here's the text of it for you:
Very often these words have an /ɒ/ vowel, like in the word hot - in Gen American, I think it's the vowel /ɑː/. Other times they may have a schwa, /ə/, like the first vowel in amazing. Sometimes they seem to have a syllabic consonant, /n/.
Sometimes there even seem to be two words which are spelled the same but have a different pronunciation. For example content meaning "happy" and content as in "the content of the lecture", for which Cambridge Dictionaries gives the transcriptions /kənˈtent/ and /ˈkɒntent/ [US:/ˈkɑːntent/] respectively.
Here are some examples with transcriptions from Cambridge Dictionaries Online:
- common /ˈkɒm.ən/
- commercial /kəˈmɜː.ʃəl/
- colleague /ˈkɒl.iːɡ/
- collection /kəˈlek.ʃən/
- correlate /ˈkɒr.ə.leɪt/
- correct /kəˈrekt/
So my question is:
- Is there any rule for whether a schwa or full /ɒ/ or /ɑː/ is used?
- Are there generalisations that can be made which will help me have a good guess at which to use.
- Are there any rules that will enable me to tell in certain restricted situations.
- If I'm unsure about a particular example, would I be better to go with a schwa or a full vowel. Why?
Any chance of your reopen vote here?