English vowels can have two (or more, many more) different pronunciations:
- A :
/eɪ/, mate or
- E :
/i:/, mete or
- I :
/aɪ/, mite or
- O :
/oʊ/, mote or
- U :
/juː/, mute or
I know that this is far from an exhaustive list of all the phonemes those five letters can represent, but I am interested in the relative frequencies between each of those pairs. I think that for most laypersons, and certainly for me before I started hanging out here, those are the sounds that come to mind when asked to list the sounds represented by the vowel letters.
So, of those phonemes, is the short (monophthong) form or the long (diphthong) form more common? By more common, I mean whether the letter
I is more often used to represent
/I/, not which of the two phonemes is more common but which of the two is I most often used for. Is there a general trend for all vowels or is it specific to certain ones?
I realize that this might not be answerable due to the vast variety of sounds these letters can represent in different dialects or even the same one, but I am hoping a conclusion can be drawn with respect to the specific phonemes listed.