Questions tagged [vowels]

Vowels sounds in English.

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1 answer
221 views

Variants of the /æ/ sound?

This YouTube channel asserts that the /æ/ sound has four variants depending on the consonant that follows it; /æ/ in apple and /æ/ in mango should sound a bit different, for instance. https://www....
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2 votes
0 answers
73 views

Is there a rule that describes vowel pronunciation changes in conjugated words? [duplicate]

I've noticed that sometimes when a word (generally a noun or adjective) gains or loses syllables, the pronunciation of the vowels will change. For example, horizon vs horizontal sociopath vs ...
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7 votes
1 answer
188 views

Did English have any alphabet or writing before it adopted Latin?

I wonder if the English language had any writing or script before the adoption of Latin. This question came about in a conversation I had with a friend about the writing of vowels in English. ...
0 votes
0 answers
29 views

Do some people pronounce "women" same as "woman"? [duplicate]

This is something i've noticed lately. Example 1, example 2 (1:10). (...i do not necessarily endorse these videos). I can clearly hear them say "all woman"/ "why do pregnant woman"....
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3 votes
1 answer
118 views

"man" vs. "men" pronunciation in American English

Here are 10 audio clips taken (more or less randomly) from a book narrated by a professional American narrator. In 5 of them, he is saying man, and in the other 5, men. Is it possible for a native ...
5 votes
1 answer
186 views

Pronunciation of "I" vowel name in fast speech

I'm not a native english speaker. I was wondering what is the right way to pronunce the "I" (/aɪ/) vowel name in fast speech. Perhaps i'm confused, but sometimes i hear /a/. Like in the ...
4 votes
1 answer
299 views

True realization of /i/ in American English: Is it really [ɪi]?

I have read in different places that the latter glide-like realization is the only one that exists in American English. Is this a regional thing? If yes, would you say it occurs in western US English? ...
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9 votes
1 answer
375 views

Why does "appropriate" (and also "duplicate", "deliberate" etc) have a different vowel in their adjective/noun and verb forms?

TL;DR There are adjectives/nouns--verb pairs in which the adjectives/nouns have weak vowel in the last syllable and the verb has strong for example: duplicate (adj): /ˈdjuːplɪkət/ duplicate (v.): /...
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3 votes
2 answers
171 views

Me vs My in East Midlands dialect [duplicate]

In the dialect I grew up with (1960's Leicestershire/East Midlands), I'd say "me", when I meant "my". For example: "That's me car." vs "That's my car." What ...
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1 vote
2 answers
121 views

How do you pronounce, "pleurisy"?

According to Wiktionary, pleurisy is pronounced one of two ways: a) /ˈplʊəɹɪsi/ b) /ˈpljʊəɹɪsi/ I don't hear the /j/ sound when I say the word (in General American) - I hear it like this: https://www....
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1 answer
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Does the word "pirate" use the /aɪɚ/ phoneme, or the /aɪɹ/ phoneme?

I'm making a list of all of the graphemes can be used to make the phoneme /aɪɚ/ in General American. -ire as in fire, wire, desire, sapphire, etc. -yre as in lyre, pyre, tyre, etc. I have questions ...
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2 votes
1 answer
147 views

When is the "Short A" sound actually spelled with an AE?

I was reading a book on English spelling (Dictionary of the British English Spelling System, by Greg Brooks) and it mentioned that the Short A sound (æ) can be spelled using the following graphemes: ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why did John Wells need three lexical sets--NORTH, FORCE and THOUGHT--for the same vowel /ɔː/?

The standard Lexical sets for English were introduced by professor John Wells which are widespread. Each lexical set represents a vowel present in a number of words, for example: the THOUGHT vowel /ɔː/...
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1 vote
0 answers
310 views

Why are "said" and "paid"/"laid" pronounced differently?

The words say, pay, lay are phonemically /seɪ/, /peɪ/ and /leɪ/ respectively (with the diphthong /eɪ/). Their past and past participles are respectively: /sɛd/ (or /sed/), /peɪd/ and /leɪd/. The past/...
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1 vote
1 answer
145 views

American accents where /æ/ becomes [eɪ] before /ŋ/. Does /æ/ become [eɪ] before /m/ and /n/ too?

I know that in Californian accent, /æ/ is sometimes realized as [eɪ] only before /ŋ/. So words like hang, bang, rang, sang, gang, which normally end with /æŋ/, end with [eɪŋ]. The reason why it ...
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18 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why is "archaic" pronounced uniquely? Is the sequence -ɪɪ- only found in this word?

Before looking this word up, I have always rhymed it with cake i.e. /ɑːˈkeɪk/. But when I looked it up, it was actually /ɑː(r)ˈkeɪɪk/ with the sequence of a similar vowel repeated consecutively: -ɪɪ- ...
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1 vote
2 answers
350 views

Is /ɜː/ realized as schwa [ə] in British English?

I have noticed that the vowel /ɜː/ (as in the RP pronunciation of "BIRD") sounds the same as the schwa [ə] (as in the pronunciation of "BUTTER" in RP). I assume the BIRD vowel is ...
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2 votes
2 answers
483 views

Is there any difference between a syllabic R /ɹ̩/ and r-colored vowel /ɚ/?

So I have seen that both of them can form a syllable on their own but I don't know the difference between them. /ɹ̩/ it is a syllabic R and can form a syllable on its own as in [ˈdɔːɾɹ̩] ("...
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2 votes
0 answers
230 views

Is the diphthong /aʊ/ generally realized as [ɑʊ] in British English?

I noticed that the diphthong /aʊ/ is pronounced by most British English speakers as [ɑʊ] (I may be inaccurate here). You can see the vowel /a/ on the vowel diagram below: I understand this diagram ...
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1 vote
1 answer
505 views

Is "awe" pronounced as /ɔː/ or /ɑː/ in American English?

I have an American friend who pronounced the word "awe" with the same vowel as British people pronounce Thought: /ɔː/. But when I look up this word in dictionaries, they pronounce it as /ɑː/....
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5 votes
2 answers
638 views

Pronunciation of “master” and “plaster” in Northern England

A pattern I've noticed in Northern England is that people of my age (born in the '90s) pronounce words like “master” and “plaster” with a short A (/a/), whereas anyone of my parents' generation (born ...
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2 votes
1 answer
870 views

Why do Southerners pronounce "naked" differently?

I was watching a TV show and this guy from Tennessee pronounces naked as /'nekɪd/, without the diphthong /eɪ/ in the first syllable, and instead pronounced as a single /e/ vowel. Dictionary ...
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1 answer
191 views

Why does the diphthong /aʊ/ not occur before /k/, /m/, /p/, /b/, /g/ etc?

I have noticed that the diphthong /aʊ/ occurs before certain consonants. We have: /aʊd/ in loud /aʊt/ in out /aʊs/ in house /aʊn/ in town /aʊtʃ/ in pouch /aʊl/ in owl BUT, we don't have /aʊp/, /aʊb/,...
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0 votes
1 answer
258 views

Why does "broad" not rhyme with "boat"?

The word "broad" is pronounced /brɔːd/ (some US accents: /brɑːd/) instead of */brəʊd/. The spelling -OA- somehow suggests that these words are closely related and/or were pronounced the same ...
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2 votes
0 answers
90 views

Words Starting With the Vowel "I"

As a volunteer English teacher to newly landed to-be citizens of Canada, please bear with me, as I am trying to be as specific as possible, without being overtly wordy. The word of the day in Merriam-...
0 votes
1 answer
196 views

Why did the vowel in "Christ" become long in moving from Old English to Middle English?

I have read the following question and all the answers, and they do not answer my question, so it is not a duplicate: Why are the vowels in Christ and Christmas different? (and other strange diphthong ...
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4 votes
1 answer
227 views

Why are the vowels in "harmony", "harmonic" and "harmonious" pronounced differently?

The "O" in all these words represents a different vowel: Harmony → /ˈhɑː.mə.ni/ Harmonic → /hɑːˈmɒn.ɪk/ Harmonious → /hɑːˈməʊ.ni.əs/ (UK pronunciations from Cambridge Dictionary) I know ...
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1 vote
2 answers
58 views

How to signal that a last letter vowel is long or short

As a Game Master I make up a lot of names for locations, objects, etc. I've always assumed you signalled it by placing a ´ over the last letter (like the City of Rohvanná), but recently I was told it ...
0 votes
1 answer
172 views

How is /ɑ:/ realized in British English: [ɑː] or more relaxed than [ɑː]?

I know that /ɑː/ is open back unrounded vowel and is found a lot in British English. It is the vowel in bath, father, bar, car etc in British English. In American English, this vowel is found in bar, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
426 views

Do Americans with PIN-PEN merger confuse "imminent" and "eminent"? [closed]

The PIN-PEN merger is a merger of the vowels /ɪ/ (KIT vowel) and /ɛ/ (DRESS vowel) before nasals [m n ŋ]. The resultant vowel is more raised and is closer to [ɪ]. Pin pen, him hem, kin ken are ...
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2 votes
1 answer
290 views

Pronunciation of /æ/, when it comes before /m/ or /n/

I believe when /æ/ comes before m or n , it’s pronounced [ɛə] instead of [æ], (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//%C3%A6/_raising) but is it always the case?For example, how about the main stress is not ...
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

What is the difference between [ɐ] and [ʌ]?

In a similar question which asks the difference between /ə/ and /ʌ/, I learned that /ʌ/ occurs in stressed syllables. Now there is another similar vowel sound: /ɐ/ which also occurs in stressed ...
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0 votes
1 answer
105 views

What sound is /a/?

Is it similar to /ʌ/ or is it more like /ɔ/ or is it something different? I've seen it combined with /ʌ/ several times in different phonetic scripts. Are the 2 similar or where they just lumped ...
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19 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the difference between /ʌɪ/ and /aɪ/ in English?

Is there any difference between the two diphthongs in English IPA transcriptions? If I search a word in the Cambridge dictionary, it gives /aɪ/ for both UK English and US English. For example, the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
743 views

What’s the rule for the sound of the letter A in the middle of three-letter words?

How do you actually pronounce A when it's in the middle of a 3 letter word like mac or rap? I hear many Americans say those words with a clear AAA sound, like the AA sound of the start of the word ...
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2 votes
1 answer
169 views

Does /ɛ/ have more than one sound?

As a non-native speaker, I hear /ɛ/ as two different sounds depending on the word. The first sound seems to occur in words such as bet and get and is closer to an /æ/ sound, while the second one ...
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4 votes
1 answer
251 views

Voicing of sibilants before liquids, after voiced vowels?

I just ran across an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion from a friend about the voic­ing of sibi­lants in English. She was ask­ing why English speak­ers pro­nounce the word mus­lim as muZlim (with a voiced sibi­...
1 vote
1 answer
64 views

Verification of the sound heard for the last vowel of "Virginia" in the Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

In this recording, at 3 min 18 s is found the name "Virginia" and my ear tells me that, for some reason or other, the a of this name is pronounced /e/ and not /ə/; shortly after that, in ...
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0 votes
1 answer
90 views

Has anyone noted this phonetic variation in /ə/?

Schwa /ə/ is a phonetically variable sound. It may be [ɪ̈]-ish (or reportedly even [ɨ]-ish), depending on position and dialect, while oftentimes it is [ə] (or [ɘ] in New Zealand English), and for at ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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What’s going on with "hot -> heat”? [duplicate]

I am looking for a particular linguistic term for this process of turning words like hot into words like heat. English has a bunch of pairs like these: Hot -> heat Whole -> heal (Folk)lore ->...
2 votes
0 answers
90 views

Does anyone know if there is a ‘ball-bowl’ merger in Australia?

I live in Australia, and I recently had a moment of confusion when talking with someone who had merged the words ball and bowl. They pronounced it something like /bɔl/. They said fall, small, wall, ...
2 votes
3 answers
517 views

Reduction of diphthongs to short vowels (/waɪz/ -> /'wɪz.əd/)

I've noticed this phenomenon / process in many words where a diphthong (or a long vowel as well?) reduces to a short vowel when it's inflected. Consider the following examples: Pronounce /...
0 votes
0 answers
282 views

English word to best represent the Dutch double A / [a] sound

My Dutch name is Maarten which has a double A inside of it, pronounced simply as [a]. It is often misspelled as Marteen. I guess that most persons will remember my name as Martin but with a double ...
1 vote
2 answers
563 views

Why are river and sliver pronounced with a short vowel, but rover and slider pronounced with long vowels?

Why are river and sliver pronounced with a short vowel, but rover and slider pronounced with long vowels? Is it because the latter two examples are words made by attaching the -er suffix to an ...
1 vote
1 answer
159 views

Finding Unstressed Schwa

In our country, we really don’t have the “unstressed schwa” How do I find this one? is there a technique? How do I find the unstressed schwa with these word? Thanks occur history curious actor ...
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the difference between /ʊ/ and /ʌ/ in British English?

/ʌ/ cut, hut, bun, nothing, love, enough, flood, does /ʊ/ put, soot, foot, good, look, cook To me the ʌ is a more short, low front (unrounded?) vowel, but the vowel /ʊ/ which sounds like "uh" is a ...
-2 votes
1 answer
650 views

Use of the word 'an' before words that don't begin with a vowel

I've noticed this crop up with other non-vowel words and wondered what the story is with it, e.g.: As an SME, we're unfortunately not able to take the time to train on the job and would ask for at ...
2 votes
1 answer
303 views

American English: Gliding of the long "ee" sound: [i] to [ɪi]

I have noticed that Americans have (broadly speaking) two ways of pronouncing the long "ee" vowel as in "fleece". A simple [i] that ends with the same quality it starts with: listen to user ...
3 votes
0 answers
172 views

Which words have historically had a final n only before a vowel?

In Modern English, the only word that has a final n only before a vowel is a/an: a face an eye In Middle English, there was the pair my/mine: my face mine eye Also, the was then before a vowel. ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Why we say an SSA when it is Software Statement Assertion in long term? [duplicate]

We say obtain a Software Statement Assertion but when it is abbreviated as SSA, we say an SSA. Can someone explain why?

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