My family have never left Scotland and we have always pronounced it M(ay)ther. As a child I was always taught that if a vowel was followed by another vowel then the first "a" was soft as in hay. If it was not followed by a vowel it was a hard "a" as in car. However the English have trouble with their own language and various pronunciations and spellings arise. I always have to spell the name for people.
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