Questions tagged [vowels]

Those speech sounds made with open, unrestricted vocal tracts, in contrast to consonants.

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1answer
77 views

How Thai Vowels Work

I am trying to put together a worksheet to understand how the Thai script works. I am looking here and here. The wiki page seems to suggest that there are two types of symbols: combining characters ...
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341 views

How Hebrew Vowels Work [closed]

I am trying to find a document that clearly explains how to apply Hebrew vowels (and what all the combining characters are for Hebrew vowels), but I haven't been able to find anything after a few ...
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820 views

Why is vowel phonology represented in a trapezoid instead of a square?

Given that the internal area of the human mouth is approximately a square, why the vowels pronunciation chart is usually represented by a trapezoid?
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195 views

Which language has the most vowel phonemes?

Which language has the largest number of vowels with minimal pairs?
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The TRAP vowel: a or ä?

If my mouth is open and my tongue is completely relaxed, do I make an [a] or an [ä]? Which one is more common for the TRAP vowel in British English?
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374 views

The German vowel “a” changes to the English “i”

What is the name of a sound shift law under which the German vowel "a" changes to the English "i", e.g. Macht -> might; Nacht -> night
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36 views

Interpreting formant intensity

I was wondering whether there is any practical way to tell whether differences in formant intensity are due to different harmonics in the source or different formants in the filter. Is there any data ...
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84 views

Formants - beyond F2

I have read that for front vowels, the cavity behind the lips (I think this must correspond to the space between the lips and the hump of the tongue) is F3, whereas for back vowels it is F2. In that ...
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86 views

What is the maximum number of IPA diacritics that can be added on a vowel?

What would the symbol look like, and how would it sound like? E.g. a long rhotacized nasalized vowel with tone?
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2answers
134 views

Given both a word and the corresponding IPA, how to match/map the letters together?

Given both the word and the corresponding IPA equivalent, is there any stable algorithm for mapping the letter of each word to the IPA letter? For example, given close-quote and IPA kloʊzkwoʊt -- I'd ...
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113 views

Dataset/Database similar to WALS in Vowel/Phonology

I am wondering if there is any database similar to The World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)(https://wals.info/). In the case that it is specifically more geared towards phonological aspects of ...
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If there is really an /ə/ between /dəɹ/ in “quandary”

In considering words with -er ending like "quandary" /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/, it seems like to me there is no difference between that IPA /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/ and /ˈkwɑːn.d.ɹɪ/, or "quand-ree". The [r] is like "rrrr" ...
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67 views

How to annotate the difference between blended vowels and non-blended vowels

Similar to this question about consonants, I'm wondering how you annotate with IPA (or any other system if IPA doesn't support it) the difference between blending vowels together (morphing between ...
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246 views

Is Daniel Jones' cardinal vowel system auditorily or articulatorily based?

Two of my textbooks said it was the former, while one pointed it was both. No further details about the truthfulness of these affirmatives were given. I personally think is auditorily and ...
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38 views

Why have we come up with symbols for secondary articulation?

I've just noted that [tja] and [tʲa] sound exactly the same. It seems that [ʲ] would only be relevant in classrooms when having isolated pronunciations such as [tʲ], [kʲ], [dʲ] due to the fact we don'...
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166 views

Are There Any Monophthong [o] Words in English?

Whenever I look up a transcription for a word containing [o], it's either an [oɪ] diphthong or an [oʊ] diphthong. Is it not possible to pronounce [o] without gliding through [ʊ] too? Is it possible, ...
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Why are vowels said to be segments produced with no obstruction whatsoever?

It's clear that in the production of many vowels air isn't free to go to every available space in the oral cavity once it leaves the pharynx. Our tongue even touches the molars in [i]. That's just an ...
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625 views

Is a vowel only writing system possible?

An abjad is a writing system in which only consonants are normally written, is the opposite possible? I've recently discovered that English actually has far more vowel-sounds than we have vowel ...
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467 views

Why r, h, and w aren't vowels

The r sound I can create (a) without moving my tongue (after it is put into place), and (b), without closing the mouth cavity entirely. Like rrrr.... To me then it seems like a vowel. For h, it is ...
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149 views

The breakdown of the word “strength” or “cheap” or “sheep”

So it turns out that sometimes consonants in a sequence can be called single consonants (e.g. d͡z), or consonant "clusters". But the main reason for calling d͡z a single consonant is because it "...
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1answer
35 views

Audio library for all IPA vowels and consonants

Wikipedia has a pretty good intro to the IPA sounds, even some of the "click" sounds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_vowel_chart_with_audio https://en....
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Why vowels sound different from each other

This might be a basic question but I am confused about how mouth shapes for vowels, at a deeper level, are producing different sounds. Wanted to see if one could demonstrate with another instrument ...
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1answer
67 views

Why long vowels are considered vowels and not 2 vowels

Wondering why long vowels are not treated as simply two letters, for example. So eː becomes ee.
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110 views

What exactly is the Japanese 'u' sound?

I've mostly heard that its a ɯ sound. But I've also heard that its an 'endo-labial close back rounded vowel'. By 'endo-labial', I mean that its a rounded vowel that's pronounced without protruding the ...
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How many different vowels can be reliable annotated?

This question is similar to How many different vowels are there? but with a different twist: here I am not interested in the minimal difference between two vowels that can be heard, but in reliable ...
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102 views

Is there a universal basis for consonants vs vowels?

Is this unique to certain families of language or all verbal human language?
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217 views

How many different vowels are there?

There are generally accepted estimates on how many shades of grey (far less than 50!) or how many colours the human eye can distinguish. How many different vowels can the human ear distinguish? To ...
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755 views

Are there any minimal pairs for German lax/tense vowels?

As we know, most German vowels have a 'tense' (or long) pronunciation and a 'lax' (or short) pronunciation. Most of the time, which pronunciation should be used can be determined by the context that ...
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165 views

What were the Proto-Bantu -ATR vowels?

It seems to be widely accepted that Proto-Niger-Congo had ten vowels, with ATR harmony: /i-ɪ e-ɛ ə-a o-ɔ u-ʊ/. Similarly, it seems widely accepted that Proto-Bantu lost three of these vowels and ...
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224 views

When plotting vowel space, why does using F2-F1 better resemble the idealized vowel chart than using F1?

When plotting the chart of the acoustic space of AmE vowels, we can represent F1 values on the y-axis and F2 values on the x-axis, like a chart on this site: http://sail.usc.edu/~lgoldste/...
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137 views

Why do most Austronesian and Polynesian languages have low consonant vowel ratio?

Refer: WALS feature 3A A simple Google search yielded - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5529419/ which could be one of the reasons. But can anyone come up with some other reasons maybe ...
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59 views

Can a single vowel (or consonant) be pronounced in multiple ways (different place/manner of articulation)

I recall from my undergrad Phonetics course (many years ago), the professor was talking about the limitations of describing phonemes by place and manner of articulation. I seem to remember an example ...
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Has the letter ⟨u⟩ in english ever historically represented the phonemes /y/ or /ʏ/?

English's spelling was changed after sometime and became more like French in some areas, such as the digraph ⟨ou⟩ to represent /u/, after ⟨u⟩ came to represent /ʊ~ʌ/. The reason I ask this, however, ...
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85 views

Why is the second formant plotted as F2-F1 in vowel space plots?

In a speech and audio processing class the lecturer pointed out that the vowel space is indicated by F1 plotted against F2-F1. I have searched online, and most sources I've found (including this ...
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219 views

Why are languages with average vowel inventory size scattered?

Is it true that languages with average vowel inventory size (5-6 Vs) are most widely scattered? How can this be explained?
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sonority hierarchy within vowel backness

Regarding the horizontal axis, and within the same high, I'd like to know whether back vowels (e.g. /ɤ/) are more sonorous than front ones (e.g. /e/).
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Tone associated to segments other than vowels

Are there languages in which lexical tone can associate to semivowels or glottal stops, or does tone ALWAYS associate only to vowels when it is realized in a spoken word?
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Is it possible for a word-initial vowel to not have a glottal stop before it?

I am not understanding how a word can begin with a glottal stop? Is it a glottal plosive? I guess I am trying not to outright ask why is it not called a glottal plosive. When I say some words that ...
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Most Distinguishable Monophthongs/Vowels?

I was listening to the 8 Primary Cardinal Vowels and 10 Secondary Cardinal Vowels. I found the Front Vowels easier to distinguish than the Back Vowels. If I were to pick the 8 most distinguishable ...
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Can regional variations of a language cause the formant space to be reduced?

I'm doing research on speech, but I'm not a linguist. Hopefully it won't be a silly question. I have been reading a little on regional variations of formants, because in my research we use formant ...
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How much of a difference does vowel mergers make to perception of fluency?

Listening to some example French conversations between an experienced, fluent speaker and an inexperienced learner, I noticed by chance that the experienced speaker differentiates between similar ...
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Why Do Singers Prefer Back Vowel Non-Lexical Vocables?

Singers more often sing "oohs" than they do "eehs". Why is that? It's exemplified in this article: https://qz.com/767812/millennial-whoop/ . I've listened to a fair amount of 50's, 60's, and 70's ...
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Why is it believed the West Germanic /i/ became /aɪ/ in some cases?

I am no study of linguistics, it is an hobby, so certainly nothing I know about in depth, but this one I do find puzzling. I understand that sometimes sounds change, this happens in English today due ...
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3answers
967 views

Anunasika(Chandrabindu) in Vowels (Sanskrit)

Someone said Anunasika is like trying to say something entirely in nasal voice. So let’s say I want to pronounce a vowel ‘U’kara with Chandrabindu on top of it. I know it’s should be completely a ...
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Was Latin A Nasalized Language?

Thinking about it, most of the Romance languages I have heard nasalize vowels quite frequently and it seems consistent: that has me wondering, is there any evidence to show that Latin was a heavily-...
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Does regular vowel dissimilation/disharmony exist?

Vowel harmony and Umlaut are widely attested, whereby vowels are affected by other vowels in the sense of making them closer in features to other vowels in the same word. Is there a comparable ...
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Why hebrew אמא pronounciation vary from the logic of אבא pronouciation?

Why does the pronunciation of 'ABA' ( אבא ) is straightforward, while the pronunciation of 'IMA' ( אמא ) is not ? Shouldn't it be pronunciated 'AMA' instead of 'IMA' ?
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What is the phonetic and phonemic destinction between a semivowel and a vowel?

I have read several articles that claim that phonemically, /j/ and /i/ are the same and distinguished from each other by being syllabic or not. What confuses me is that I can hear the difference ...
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The Word for 'Ball' Pre-Colonisation

What I've found is that word-final /a/ in native Malay words and words up to the time of the Portuguese invasion (16-17th century) undergo reduction, e.g.: /a/ → [ə] / __# Mata (eye) - [matə] Kura-...
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1answer
143 views

Text-to-speech for arbitrary vowels (i.e not just ipa)

So my understanding is vowel sounds can be modelled in a 2-d space together with roundedness in terms of location and openness or equivalently in terms of first and second formants. You get pictures ...