Questions tagged [vowels]

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

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1answer
79 views

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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1answer
53 views

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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858 views

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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3answers
120 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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1answer
120 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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87 views

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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92 views

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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1answer
27 views

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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113 views

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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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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1answer
68 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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112 views

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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243 views

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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166 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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Mandarin tone contours along diphthongs

I'd like to know how tone contours are orally distributed along Mandarin rhyme diphthongs. I've tried to find a graphic with variables such as time, volume of speech, pitch levels, etc. to no avail.
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375 views

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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1answer
995 views

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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592 views

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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1answer
199 views

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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1answer
176 views

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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1answer
166 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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898 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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945 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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Which language has the most vowel phonemes?

Which language has the largest number of vowels with minimal pairs?
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173 views

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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436 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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81 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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137 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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151 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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190 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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185 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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185 views

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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113 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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377 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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58 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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418 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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975 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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625 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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547 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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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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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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187 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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177 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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322 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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919 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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1answer
216 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 ...