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I've been told that о is pronounced as а when it's not stressed, however the word лаборато́рия is actually pronounced лабо́рато́рия , why is that?

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    As a side note. With such complex words people may inadvertently pronounce them syllable-wise (more or less smoothly). In this case o->a transition not always occur. – AlexVB Dec 6 '17 at 16:37
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    the real answer is that your assumption is wrong and it's not pronounced that way. – shabunc Dec 6 '17 at 16:38
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Not really, it's indeed to be, and is, pronounced лАбАрАтОрия or in the Moscow pronunciation as can be heard in some of the clips лАбрАтОрия

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The word лаборатория is pronounced as [ləbərɐˈtorʲɪjə] and it has only one stressed vowel sound. The effect you hear is due to the fact that the [ə] of the first letter 'O' really sounds more like [o] than like [a] because [ə] is not as open a sound as [a].

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  • Did you mean [ləbərɐto'rʲɪjə]? Stress on second а sounds wrong. – alamar Dec 6 '17 at 14:37
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    @alamar - I have everything right. In transcription the stress mark is put before the stressed syllable, not after the stressed vowel. Many: [ˈmænɪ], begin: [bɪˈgɪn], etc. – Yellow Sky Dec 6 '17 at 14:42

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