слишком рано

на самом деле

These "о"s correspond to the IPA "ə". I seem to notice some speakers pronounce it like the pure "o" sound, as in "он" or "долг", albeit unstressed, while others make it sound more like "a", as in "рано", "какой-то".

  • 1
    The two vowels are pronounced exactly the same, as [ə], both in the Russian and in the English words.
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 16 '18 at 21:41
  • 3
    if someone pronounces their unstressed O as O in "он" or "долг" (which is stressed) that would be оканье (o-ing), which isn't the standard modern Russian pronunciation but which still exists among older population in some remote regions Feb 17 '18 at 15:24

Maybe you hear them say "с лишком" (meaning a little more than needed) and "самом" (prepositional case of "сам" meaning "oneself").

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