Questions tagged [vowels]

Vowels sounds in English.

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1answer
66 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 ...
4
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1answer
99 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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2answers
37 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 ...
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1answer
62 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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1answer
199 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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1answer
85 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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1answer
254 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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1answer
63 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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2answers
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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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1answer
177 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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1answer
97 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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1answer
174 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...
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1answer
53 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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1answer
75 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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0answers
69 views

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 ->...
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49 views

Why is the ī sound in -ice words different from other words? [duplicate]

I'm thinking about words like "dice", "mice", "lyse", "thrice" etc. that all have the same phonetic pattern at the end of the word. Thinking about these words phonetically, I would imagine that the "i"...
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0answers
42 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, ...
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3answers
242 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 /...
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109 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 ...
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1answer
181 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 ...
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1answer
89 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
77 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 ...
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1answer
124 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 ...
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0answers
127 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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1answer
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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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My pronunciation of “ul” in pull, culture, multiple - a mid back rounded vowel?

I've puzzled over my pronunciation of "ul" in words like pull, culture, adult and multiple. The dictionary says it should be /ʌ/. I heard a Canadian teacher pronounce "culture" /'kol tʃɘr/. My ...
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2answers
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Why doesn't English employ an H in front of Ares?

While watching the movie The Martian, a question arose regarding the name Ares: Greek Gods were metaphrased into Latin when Romans took over. Ares (from the Greek Άρης) was now named Mars, and so on. ...
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2answers
83 views

How to call a so-called helper spelling to help reading a word?

Using words below as example: team /tiːm/ head /ˈhed/ eat /ēt/ The common syllable ea sound cannot always be pronounced consistently the same sound in English language. It differs per word. That's ...
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0answers
65 views

“An Universal Etymological English Dictionary”. Why “An Universal”?

My question is not about the general usage of a/an, so, I believe, it is not a duplicate one. It is specifically about the title of the dictionary An Universal Etymological English Dictionary ...
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1answer
233 views

schwa before /r/

Right now, Wikipedia gives the pronunciation of Sirius as /ˈsɪriəs/, but in the past I've seen editors insist on /ˈsɪəriəs/. I take this to mean that it should sound like seer, which I at least ...
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2answers
163 views

Ambiguous spelling of extended vowel sound

It seems common practice in informal written English (and possibly other languages) to represent emphasised, slow or drawn-out speech by repeating vowels in words: I was sooooo drunk How could a ...
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1answer
217 views

What was the pronunciation of the a in “trap” in early to mid Modern English in the UK?

I have often read that in Old and Middle English the "a" sound in words like "trap" was pronouned /a/. When it comes to modern English, Wikipedia suggests that this was raised to /æ/ in early Modern ...
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1answer
88 views

How do you spell short vowel sounds?

Newbie here. If I wanted to spell out the sounds short vowels make, would these be accurate? a - ah, e - eh, i - ee, o - ou, u - uh
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2answers
331 views

Pronunciation: vowels before dark L (Any accent)

To native speakers of English, how do you compare a vowel before a dark L and one without a dark L. Example words: gold, goal, sold, soul, hole, hold, bowl, bold go, so, ho, bow(noun) . pool, ...
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3answers
742 views

Are the words “Aural” and “Oral” homophones?

Are the words "Aural" and "Oral" usually pronounced the same? Does it vary by dialect? Are there strategies that people use to differentiate them when listening to spoken English?
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Scottish, English, why not *Walish?

As the title question asks, and particularly in light of the Old English word wælisc apparently used to refer to "Welsh", when, why, and how did the English adjective meaning "of or relating to Wales" ...
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1answer
2k views

“Y” as a vowel in a name

Can the letter "y" be used to represent the "ee" sound in the middle of a name, like it is at the end of baby, lady or Lacy. What I mean is, is it okay to spell Khaleesi as Khalysi etc.
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Why do I have a different vowel in “scarf” than I have in “scarves”, and how come nobody talks about this?

So in my opinion, scarves is pronounced as the dictionary has it: with a Short O or /a/. But I believe that scarf and other "ar" words that are followed by voiceless consonants, are not actually ...
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1answer
68 views

“A NNN REIT” or “an NNN REIT” [duplicate]

I would think it's "a NNN REIT" in this case, despite the vowel sound, because this would typically be read as "a triple-net REIT" by those with domain knowledge. The person I consulted with said NNN ...
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0answers
152 views

Why “idea-R-of” in Australia

I am not native english speaker English is my 2nd Language When I moved to Australia I noticed people here adding the letter R in between words that ends with vowel and the other that starts with ...
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137 views

Different pronunciations of “-ead”/“-ed”/“-aid” words

I find that American/British English dialects tend to pronounce words like "bed", "red", "dead", "bred", "said", etc. with the exact same vowel sound: the IPA ɛ vowel (- and so this question may seem ...
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0answers
178 views

Are there American English dialects which distinguish /ɑ/ and /ɒ/ but not /ɑ/ and /ɔ/?

I relied on the Logic of English (LoE) phonograms to give myself a better understanding of English pronunciation since the spelling gives me a hard time (even as native speaker), but I noticed that ...
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4answers
1k views

Why are “fun” and “hulk” phonetically transcribed with the same vowel but pronounced differently?

I see many words in English have the same phonetics but I don't know why they sound different. It means if we read the phonetics and pronounce, it will be wrong. Here are the examples. fun : /fʌn/ ...
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2answers
4k views

Are there words other than “friend” where “ie” is pronounced as /ɛ/ (“short e”)?

Are there any words in English other than friend where the spelling "ie" corresponds to the "short e" sound /ɛ/?
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1answer
2k views

Difference between /æ/ and /ɛ/

I can see that several questions (1, 2) have already been asked about this, but I would like to ask specifically in the context of Russian phonetics. Russian is my native language, but I'm fluent in ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a hidden [y] vowel sound in /u:/?

My native language is Danish, with its gigantic number of vowel sounds, and this undoubtedly affects how I hear English vowels. However, one phenomenon in English has bothered me for many years, ...
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1answer
826 views

Why is the spelling of “company” different from the pronunciation?

My students regularly pronounce the word "company" with [o] in the first syllable. Why do we pronounce [ʌ] in this syllable? but write "o"? Thank you.
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0answers
274 views

caught-cot merger: can “lawyer” sound like “lier”?

"law" is pronounced as /lɑ/ if you speak with the caught-cot merger, so, logic suggests "lawyer" should sound like /lɑjɚ/, as "lawyer" is basically "law" + "yer" For me, the difference between /lɑjɚ/ ...
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5answers
6k views

Why are there 4 ambiguous phonetic symbols in IPA representations of English?

I'm interested in phonetics in order to speak as properly as possible. And here's the thing, there are four vowels with ambiguous symbols: The first problem is the sound [ɛ] like in dress: /drɛs/ ...

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