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THE ENGLISH VOWEL SYSTEM

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andrea leceta

on 4 September 2014

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Transcript of THE ENGLISH VOWEL SYSTEM

THE ENGLISH VOWEL SYSTEM
Description of sounds
Sounds are described taking into account 3 criteria:
- Articulatory - Auditory - Acoustic
Some sounds are better learnt articulatorily (consonants), while some others are better learnt auditorily (vowels), that is through listening and imitation.

Definition of vowel sounds
A vowel sound is a sound in the production of which the air stream comes out through the mouth (or mouth and nose), centrally over the tongue and meets a stricture of open approximation. A vowel sound is generally syllabic, i.e., it functions as the central element of a syllable. Vowel sounds are all oral and voiced.

Classification
To classify VS articulatorily we take into account:
- The part of the tongue that is raised
(horizontal axis)
- The height to which the tongue is raised
(vertical axis)
- Lip position: rounded or unrounded
- Position of the velum: (raised / lowered)
Variations produced by changing the shape of the mouth resonators are referred to as differences in vowel quality.

Length
Long vowel sounds (pure vowels &
diphthongs) may suffer length variations.
Vowel sounds may have:
Full length
Half length
Short length
VS take full length:
- in open syllabes
- when followed by a lenis or voiced C
VS have full length
(or are fully long) when:
accented in open syll,
e.g., [fi:]
accented + lenis C,
e.g., [fi:d]

VS have half length
(or are half-long) when:
accented + fortis C, e.g., feet
in an unaccented syll,
e.g., seminar, idea, criteria
in an accented syll + unacc syll,
e.g., teacher, tomato
Short vowels are left unmarked.
Description of sounds
Definition of vowel sounds
Classification
English vowel system
Length
Diphthongs
Levelling
Practice
Special cases
long vowel + nasal + fortis C > vowel is half-long; e.g. plant
long vowel + lateral + fortis C > vowel is half long; e.g., salt

Diphthongs
In pure vowels the tongue remains in a steady position, in a diphthong there is a glide from one VS to another VS within the same syllable.

Classification
Articulatorily:
- Distance the tongue travels:
WIDE
NARROW
- The direction of the movement:
CLOSING
CENTRING
Auditorily:
- Falling

Levelling
A /@/can be added to all diphthongs, except to centring diphthongs:

/ / power, sour, our
/ / payer, player
/ / lower
/ / wire, fire, variety
/ / employer

Practice
Given the following descriptions of vowel sounds, provide the symbols, place them in the chart. Find examples of letter/s containing those sounds in the texts in normal spelling.

Central between half-open and open
Mid central generally long
Front mid usually short
Back open unrounded
Back open rounded usu short
Wide front closing diphthong
Narrow back closing diphthong
Centring diphthong

English Pure Vowels
English vs. Spanish Pure Vowels
http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/english/frameset.html
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