Questions tagged [vowels]

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

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What is the difference between [j w] and [i̯ u̯]?

The symbols [i̯] and [u̯] always confused me, like what makes them different from [j] and [w]?
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1 vote
1 answer
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What would /ɯ/ most likely be replaced by? [closed]

If a language was borrowing words from another language that has /ɯ/, what would the first language possibly substitute it with? Borrowing language phonology - Consonants: m n ɲ p b t d c ɟ k g ts dz ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Ioticism in Greek

Are there any good theories about what motivated the pervasive ioticism that developed between ancient Greek and modern Greek? Are there any other languages that went through analogous changes? The ...
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1 answer
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Glottal approximate and rhotic consonants and R-colored vowels

Is there some reason why the consonant "r" can't simply be a glottal approximate and "er" be the corresponding vowel? This would explain why different r's can be produced with the ...
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Confusion about compression vs. protrusion in rounded vowels

I'm making a song-synthesizing software, so I built some models about human speech, and I'm testing them. But it turns out there is an obstacle. I seem to have misunderstood how vowels are rounded. I ...
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2 answers
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IPA confusion, difference between these vowels?

I am having trouble hearing the difference between these vowels based on this website for the IPA and would appreciate if someone could tell me the differences and how to pronounce them. ʊ and ø ə ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Wikipedia sound samples: vocal fry?

In seems to me that in Wikipedia's sound samples for the vowel sounds, there's often some vocal fry, especially in the back vowels. Vowels like ɑ æ ä e and to a lesser extent: ɤ o ɜ œ. Do you concur? ...
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4 votes
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What are the best ways to learn to distinguish vowels?

Apologies if this question is redundant. It seems pretty basic, but I couldn't find a post that seemed relevant. If there is one, please forward it! My question is "What are the most effective ...
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Is there an android app that adds short vowels to Persian texts?

I found an app for Arabic. But is there an app or maybe a website for Persian too?
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2 answers
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Corsican vowels

In Corsican, some vowels are nasalized before a nasal consonant in the same syllable. What do these vowels have in common? Here are some examples: 'prin.tʃi.pe = prince 'fun.gu = mushroom 'ãn.ku = ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Pre-fortis clipping of /n/

Pre-fortis clipping is usually defined as operating on vowels. See, for example, John Wells’s blog post on the subject. But at least in my idiolect (Northern English-influenced RP), in the environment ...
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Do all semivowels have vowel equivalents, and vice versa?

I realise this is likely to be highly theoretical, as in “there could be such sounds but they aren’t phonemic in any language”. But I have a burning curiosity, and I’m hoping that there’s a concrete ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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A language without consonants

I know that Rotokas language has fewer consonants than most (all?) languages. But I haven't been able to find a language that has no consonants (whether phonemic or phonetic). Does such a language ...
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1 vote
2 answers
207 views

What do these diagrams of vowels actually represent?

I've heard many times that spoken language is subjected to variations and we never make the exact same sound when we speak, even for the same word. If that's the case, how can you be so exact about ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Fewest number of vowels in a Germanic language?

Yiddish has an unusually small vowel inventory for a Germanic language, which are generally notorious for their large number of vowel phonemes. Probably under the influence of the surrounding gentile ...
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order of tables in the IPA chart -- is there a reason?

I was told by a friend that the order of tables in the IPA chart is not completely arbitrary, but has some motivation to it. In particular, that C tables come before the V table, as features of C ...
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16 votes
4 answers
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What is the longest word without a vowel in any language?

(see edit below before you answer!) I'm not a linguist, but I've always been fascinated by the fact that in Czech, there is a 9-letter word without a single vowel: čtvrthrst. It means "quarter of ...
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How is a svarabhakti different from a vowel

I recently came across the concept of "svarabhakti" in the context of the Gaelic word "Alba" (pronounced with a vowel between l and b). What I'm confused about is why this is ...
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Vowel change OE

My question is: comparing the words for the verb "hear" in Gothic(hausjan) and Old English(hieran), I became curious as to how did the diphthong 'au' came to be 'ie' in OE. I tried ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Origin of the English word 'tooth' being pronounced /tʊθ/?

According to Wiktionary, the English word 'tooth' can be pronounced as /tʊθ/ (as opposed to its regular pronunciation in RP of /tuːθ/) in certain areas of Wales and the British Midlands. Is there any ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Could Old English /ea/ be a derivative from /a/?

"...This includes changes from the split between Old English and Old Frisian (c. AD 475)..." [Wikipedia] The reflex of Proto-Germanic *au is spelled ea in Old English, but spelled a in Old ...
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Are there languages where vowels are always oral?

I was surprised to find in Zsiga (2020: 120, 125) a claim (by Donegan & Stampe 2009) that vowels in Hawaiian, as well as oral vowels in French, are always oral. Unfortunately Donegan & Stampe ...
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Is [ë̞] another symbol for [ə]?

I know that the diacritic ̈ is for centralization and ̞ for lowered. So when [e] is centralized, it becomes [ɘ] and when lowered it becomes [ə]. See the diagram: If someone gives me the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Vowels in the second syllable of 'harmonic' and 'harmonious'

I came across a question on English Language & Usage asking about why the vowels in the second syllable of 'harmonic' and 'harmonious' are pronounced differently. Harmonic → /hɑːˈmɒn.ɪk/ ...
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Unmoving F1 / formant below F1?

I'm trying to understand some basics, hope this is an ok question. Here's a recording of me producing /i/, /ɛ/, /a/: https://namakajiri.net/misc/i%c9%9ba.webm nevermind the transition between the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Epenthesis using SPE-notation

Suppose in some language the following happens: when the stem ends in front vowels (i, e), then adding a certain suffix X requires j insertion (so it looks like [.. i j X] or [... e j X] instead of [....
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Has a sound change ever happened that voiced only stops in between vowels and not fricatives?

Has this ever happened? Can it happen? I'm a novice in linguistics and I'm trying to study sound changes.
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4 answers
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are there any languages that have sounds in diphthongs that don’t occur in isolation?

essentially i am doing an assignment for class in which we are building a pretend vowel system for a pretend language based on sound files we are given. i had two diphthong files with 5 other files ...
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1 vote
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Terminology about elongating a monothong or a diphthong by duration and tone

Which terminology is applicable when a monothong or diphthong is elongated in duration and with a slightly higher pitch? Would it be vowel breaking or fracturing or something else? Example 1 (...
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1 answer
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How to differenciate the long vowels from the actual letters in arabic?

I'm learning beginner in arabic and I can't find a proper grammar rule to figure it out. There is a lot of lessons on long vowels but they are totally disjointed from the question "How to ...
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What are the phonological rules or constraints for these pairs of words?

Mongol-Mongolia Arab-Arabia Babylon-Babylonian Boston-Bostonian comedy-comedian colony-colonial I know that the vowel in the second syllable is lengthened, but what are the rules or constraints for ...
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2 answers
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Is there such a thing as an L colored vowel?

I am wondering about vowels with approximant sounds. I am talking about a variant of a r colored vowel. An r colored vowel is found in words like earth. But, I want to take this a step further. Is ...
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3 votes
3 answers
261 views

Similarity between voiced glottal fricative and schwa sound?

I remember trying to whisper a schwa sound (mid central vowel). I thought that it sounded like an H sound. So, I tried to voice the h. It sounded a lot like the schwa. I wonder why. Is there a link ...
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6 votes
1 answer
247 views

Can Semitic (Hebrew & Arabic) roots have vowels?

To the best of my knowledge, roots in Semitic, both Arabic & Hebrew, do not contain vowels. They are purely consonantal at the base. I read this a couple of years ago about Hebrew in Levin & ...
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Unvoiced schwa?

I read about a the schwa being the laziest sound in all of human speech. This is because it just needs vocal cords and, poof, there's a uuuh sound. But, what happens if you take the vocal cords out? (...
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Why is the vowel speech sound (called "ash") in "Tank" and "Cat" considered the same?

The vowel in "Tank" sounds more like ɛ to me, yet the IPA spelling for "Tank" (as pronounced in General American English) employs the ash [æ] to represent the vowel. The same for the word "thank" in ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Praat - window size larger than vowel

I'm doing an acoustic-phonetic analysis of read-speech in an American English corpus. If we want to set a window/frame size (25 - 30 ms) to cover the majority of vowels in the corpus, but some vowels (...
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Why is the diphthong in 'say' and 'fate' /eɪ/ rather than /ɛi/?

When I say the word 'day,' I say /dɛi/, or perhaps /dɛj/. However, when I look at any dictionary that uses IPA, they always write the diphthong as /eɪ/. Why is this? Maybe my dialect of English (UK ...
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4 votes
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Does California vowel shift occur in bilingual Spanish speakers?

I know that recently there has been a lot of research done on the California vowel shift being a key part of a California accent for younger kids who have grown up there. Knowing that there is a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
801 views

Voice pitch changing between languages

I speak English natively, but I have learned Spanish to a high level of proficiency and speak Latvian (still learning) with my wife who speaks Latvian natively and English with native proficiency (...
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Could the Ancient Egyptian Ka be pronounced Ki?

I am looking at the word /ki/ such as this 𓎡𓇋. However, I noticed there are some words/sounds like /ka/ (𓂓) which is one symbol. Typically you see the word for the "sun god of egypt" as Ra, but ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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GVS similarity in cognate words other Germanic Languages

I am no professional Linguist (nor have I ever studied it) so there might be a straightforward explanation to this which I could't find searching in ordinary places. I was analysing a few words from ...
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6 votes
3 answers
201 views

Is there good evidence for five vowel phonemes in Hittite?

The Hittite writing system generally distinguishes three, sometimes four vowels: /a i u/ and sometimes /e/. However, I've seen it suggested that the language actually had five vowel phonemes, ...
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8 votes
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If Hebrew is written without vowels can there be multiple interpretations?

This may be a silly question though I am unsure of this is the case for Hebrew. I know often the vowels are not shown in Hebrew in writing. Curious if it changes the words can be interpreted many ...
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vowels (unrounded or rounded)

i have a problem with vowels (which are rounded or unrounded vowels). Can you explain how to make a decide which is vowels? And which are tense or lax vowels? Maybe have some rules or instruction or ...
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help with the sounds of words [closed]

when we concentrate on articulars sounds we don't think about how people listening to those sounds. How to decide are rounded or unrounded vowels and which are tense or lax vowels? and what clues are ...
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Does pre-fortis clipping only operate within a syllable? If not, what is its actual scope?

English is known to have a phenomenon of "pre-fortis clipping": in certain contexts, vowel and sonorant phonemes before a fortis/voiceless consonant are realized with shorter duration than the same ...
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4 votes
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How to measure auditory distances between vowels

(Followup to this question, also related to this answer.) The Handbook of the International Phonetic Association (1999: 11–2) defines the values of cardinal vowels as follows: [T]wo fully front ...
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5 votes
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Why were the formants of high and back vowels difficult to obtain? And why not anymore?

I was reading the second chapter of Three Areas of Experimental Phonetics by Peter Ladefoged (1967), in which he summarizes the studies he conducted in the 1950s and 1960s which demonstrated practical ...
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1 vote
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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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