I was reading Geoff Lindsey's blog and stumbled across an interesting matter. He says FLEECE vowel is actually a diphthong. Perhaps ij or ɪj. I can hear the diphthong [ɪj] in -ly, for example, and in words like "me" and "see" at the end of sentences, in British accents. Also, in Australian accent it seems to be [ej]. But I can't here a diphthong in words like "believe" and "peace". Does it vary depending on the situation? Or does it have to do with the speed of the speech? In Australian accent I can hear it in any cases.

  • In English (at least American English), all the tense vowel phonemes (/i, e, o, u/, as opposed to the lax vowels / ɪ, ɛ, ɔ, ʊ/) are diphthongized. That is, in Trager-Smith notation (which didn't use IPA symbols because typewriters), the tense vowels were /iy, ey, ow, uw/ while the lax ones simply lacked the semivowel. So, since the vowel in fleece is tense /flis/, there would be a small high front tongue-tip gesture (a very short gesture, to be sure, because [i] is already high front). Similar remarks apply to goose, where the /u/ will have a very short high back gesture: [uw]. – jlawler Feb 27 '18 at 21:00
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    Thank you for your comment. In the case of GOOSE, it's very easy to hear the diphthong (ʉw or ɵw in British English). – Roney Souza Feb 28 '18 at 11:09
  • Yes, the labialization in goose makes it more obvious. – jlawler Feb 28 '18 at 15:44

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