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First vowel in Bangla Barnamala (alphabet).
This is the first vowel in Bangla Barnamala (alphabet). With immense importance, pronunciation of অ, in fact, holds the characteristics of Bangla dialect. It is easy to differentiate elocutionists by their origin with the adopted style of pronunciation for this vowel. It poses a difficult task to do it properly for non-Bengali people and more so for people from the Western world. In order to learn Rabindra Sangeet one must have a fair idea of its correct application.
It has two variants viz:
'awe'  – as in saw  we shall name this as HARD
'o'  – as in ago  we shall name this as SOFT
It may be used alone as a letter in a word, as in অনু or may be used as conjuncts with consonants as in বধূ. In general, a consonant at the beginning or in the middle of a word should accompany অ unless otherwise specified. As it is seen in the second example.
1. 1st syllable
1.1. The word is NEGETIVE in meaning, pronounce HARD.
Example: অচল, অচিন, অবলা, অপরিচিত
1.2. The word is NON-NEGETIVE in meaning,
1.2.1. The 2nd syllable is অ, আ, এ, ও or staccato (non-sustaining, without a vowel), pronounce HARD.
Example: অপ, কর, বলা, সবে, বড়ো
1.2.2. The 2nd syllable is ই,ঈ,উ,ঊ, pronounce SOFT.
Example: অলি, করি, অনু, কভু, বধূ, গরু
2. 2nd or any intermediate syllable in a three-letter or larger word.
2.1. The previous syllable is অ,আ,উ,ঊ,ও, pronounce SOFT.
Example: গগন, চালনা, অবহেলা, কলকাকলি
2.2. The previous syllable is ই,ঈ,এ, pronounce HARD.
Example: ঈষৎ, মিলন, জীবন, সেবন, ঐশ্বর্য
3. Last syllable pronounce SOFT.
Example: গল্প, বরিষ, গৃহিত, সংশোধিত, প্রয়োজনীয়
4. In case of pronouncing conjunct words the rules for the parent words are privileged.
Example: আয়তনয়না = আয়ত + নয়না, here the words are separated before applying rule 2.1.
5. Note:There exist a lot of exceptions. Words of Sanskrit or foreign origin are to be dealt with as they are done in their parent language.
Depending upon the writer, nature of composition, place of reproduction etc. the rules are dishonored.
More will come in course of time.