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Questions tagged [vowels]

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

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14 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why isn't the American r considered a vowel?

As a native American English speaker from the Northwest, whenever I isolate the r in words like "right" or "rope" it's always /ɚ/, the same as the r in words like "first" ...
0 votes
1 answer
92 views

Lip rounding doesn't transform the close-mid back vowels into each other, so why is the only difference between their names roundedness?

I don't understand why ⟨o⟩ is called the "close-mid back rounded vowel" while ⟨ɤ⟩ is called the "close-mid back unrounded vowel" - they sound completely different and they feel ...
1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Cot-Caught Merger in NYC and New Jersey?

I'm a bit confused with the cot-caught and father-bother merger, especially as they appear in the NYC / New Jersey area? I'm a native of the area and have lived there my whole life, yet I have the ...
4 votes
1 answer
531 views

What is the difference between [ɚ], [ɝ], [ɹ̩], and [ɻ̍]?

So, [ɚ] is a rhotacized schwa/mid central vowel/schwar, [ɝ] is a rhotacized open-mid central unrounded vowel, [ɹ̩] is a syllabic alveolar approximant, and [ɻ̍] is a syllabic retroflex approximant. ...
2 votes
0 answers
37 views

Are there any rules governing the variation between codaic /n/ and nasal vowels in Hindustani?

Are there any rules governing when a vowel + /n/ combination in Hindustani will become a nasal vowel, or are they completely separate and unpredictable? If so, are there any minimal pairs to prove so? ...
2 votes
2 answers
214 views

Is the sound change /y/ > /i/ more common than /y/ > /u/? Are there any good examples of /y/ shifting to /u/?

Front rounded vowels are somewhat uncommon. If we focus on the high front rounded vowel /y/ and consider cases where it was lost, it seems most likely to shift to /i/ by losing its rounding or to ...
4 votes
4 answers
459 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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
33 views

Terminologies in Acoustic-phonetic Vowel classifier

An acoustic-phonetic vowel classifier uses a tree based classification. Consider F1 and F2 as formant frequencies. At it's first step, it checks for COMPACT/DIFFUSE (High F1/Low F1). At the second, it ...
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

How would vowel-heavy names be written in a pure abjad?

There are a lot of names like "Ai", "Kai", "Anita", or "Amari" that would be quite tricky to infer based on the consonants. Disregarding abjads with matres ...
2 votes
1 answer
130 views

The vowel used when pronouncing a consonant/reciting the alphabet

While this answer talks about how the names of letters are pronounced, my question is how we came up with this way of naming consonants. Is there an official term for the standard vowels used in the ...
2 votes
1 answer
196 views

Does California English have an additional vowel phoneme?

I've noticed that my pronunciation of the word only differs from the General American pronunciation (I'm from coastal California). This is the pronunciation of only that I assume is General American: ...
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why in English words is [o] followed by [ʊ]?

The close-mid back rounded vowel is usually diphthongized to [oʊ] or [əʊ] in North America and respectively, Britain. Examples: row, also. In fact, in the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary I ...
4 votes
0 answers
84 views

Why does Danish have more short-long vowel pairs than Swedish?

In Danish, the pair /ø/ and /ø:/ are distinguished from the pair /œ/ and /œ:/. In Swedish, the phonemes /ø:/ and /œ/ are treated as a short-long pair. In Danish, the pair /ɔ/ and /ɔ:/ are ...
1 vote
0 answers
55 views

When are Shva and Qhataf-Pataqh used in Biblical Hebrew?

In Tiberian Hebrew, Shva Na and Hataf Patach were both pronounced like Hataf Patach. (I will be discussing Shva Na, not Shva Nach, in this question.) However, in other dialects, Shva was pronounced ...
5 votes
2 answers
848 views

Languages with [yø̯]

The Finnish language has the (presumably) extremely rare diphthong [yø̯], which is a front rounded vowel opening and falling diphthong. I know that this diphthong also exists in some other Finnic ...
-1 votes
4 answers
210 views

Besides English, "a" and "an". which other language uses separate articles before vowels? [duplicate]

In English, "a" changes to "an" before a vowel or a silent "h". Is there any other language where the article changes its form depending on whether it precedes a ...
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there a rounded /æ/? Is there a Near-open front rounded vowel?

Okay, so I was just doing a bit of conlanging, and I was coming up with a verb ending /æɸ/. Because of the way I have begun this, /ɸ~ʍ/ are interchangeable. When I first tried saying /æʍ]/ I ...
2 votes
1 answer
134 views

Is ʕ̞ equivalent to the semivowel articulation of ɑ?

Wikipedia claims that Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996) p. 323 states that ʕ̞ is equivalent to the semivowel articulation of ɑ. Is this true? If so, why? If not, what is the false premise behind this ...
8 votes
2 answers
641 views

Do the qualities of a vowel determine its semivowel’s place of articulation?

[j] (the semivowel of [i]) is palatal. [w] (the semivowel of [u]) is labial–velar. [ɥ] (the semivowel of [y]) is labio-palatal. Does the position of the vowel in the mouth play a part in determining ...
2 votes
3 answers
219 views

Is there any sound change that can result in /ɞ/?

I am making a conlang where one of the distinctive sounds is /ɞ/. It is a rare vowel sound, and I searched Index Diachronica but couldn't find a sound change that results in it. The sound also does ...
1 vote
2 answers
120 views

How to analyze nasal vowels next to nasal consonants

Let's say a language uses two vowels /A/ and /B/ which differ only by one relevant phonological feature [+/- X] such that /A/ is [- X] and /B/ is [+ X]. Now let's say there's a consonant phoneme /C/ ...
14 votes
19 answers
10k views

Which languages have words containing the same letter three times in a row?

I was just reading a french text with the word créées (created). Are there any other languages where triple letters, especially vowels, can be found occasionally?
2 votes
1 answer
83 views

How exactly are vowel qualities plotted on a neat quadrilateral chart?

How exactly are vowel qualities of a particular speaker, or average qualities of the speakers of an accent, plotted on a neat quadrilateral chart like these (from the Wikipedia articles for Received ...
0 votes
0 answers
94 views

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?
0 votes
2 answers
952 views

Swahili stress with two vowels in a row, how does it work?

I'm uncertain how stress works with two vowels in a row, so I used a regex to grab some words out of a small learner's-dictionary, and then make the two possible stress-patterns after each entry, ...
1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Why are mid-open/open vowels considered [- tense]?

I found the following chart (which was taken from Donegan (1976)) on a book and something reminded me of a simple question I always had, but I never came across a definitive answer: why are some open ...
1 vote
1 answer
130 views

All vocal formants in order of frequency?

Wondering if there's any resource online that can show the sequence of vowel pitch high to low. I realise that frequencies vary depending on the speaker/accent/etc, but some kind of average/ballpark. ...
0 votes
1 answer
94 views

Is there good software for measuring vowel formants?

I am trying to learn more about how people actually speak English, as opposed to the traditional phonetic transcriptions (they may have once been accurate, but come on, there's no way the vowel in &...
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why are letters with a stroke not decomposed in Unicode?

There's a strait which is called Øresund in Danish and Öresund in Swedish. Looking at Latin Capital Letter O with Stroke, it has no decomposition rules. Looking at Latin Capital Letter O with ...
0 votes
2 answers
155 views

Why does the IPA use four main vowel heights?

Because vowels exist at infinitely precise points on large acoustic and articulatory spectrums (vowel spaces), the study of phonetics uses generalized waypoints to describe them. The International ...
10 votes
1 answer
675 views

How close are the Italian and the Romanian open central unrounded vowels?

The "a" sound in Italian and Romanian, is identified as the central unrounded vowel and represented as being practically identical, very close to [ä]. Although a is used in these images to ...
2 votes
1 answer
116 views

The pronunciation of nasalized cardinal vowels

I hope to find the standard pronunciations of nasalized cardinal vowels and English vowels. Where can these pronunciations be found? I looked for them in many places. But they can’t be found in IPA’s ...
2 votes
2 answers
153 views

Does Tibetan have nasalized consonants, or is the nasalness on the vowels?

I am working with a native Tibetan speaker to translate some words from Tibetan into English, and I noticed they were marking the pronunciation of certain consonants with a nasal marker. They marked ...
1 vote
1 answer
43 views

Where can I find all of the consonant/vowel word formation formulas for a given language? And what is the name of this?

I'm new to linguistics. I've seen that there are CVC or VVC or similar structures presented in online resources (for example Wikipedia) to denote the possible combinations of sounds. I want to find a ...
3 votes
1 answer
337 views

Might tones affect vowel quality?

Is there any language that has tone-based allophonic variation? For example, /e/ and /o/ might become [ɛ] and [ɔ] ─ literally being lowered ─ with low tone. Or since back vowels are inherently lower ...
18 votes
5 answers
4k views

Are there languages with more vowels than consonants?

Almost all languages of the world have more consonants than vowels. Are there some languages of the world with more vowel phonemes than consonants?
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why were vowels secondary citizens in many of the worlds sound-based writing systems?

Not considering logographic systems like Chinese, and outside Cuneiform (not sure if that is a logo system or something else), it appears at first glance that many of the world's writing systems ...
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Unexplained /ɪl/ /ɛl/ phenomenon in American English

(I hope all this background information I’m about to give is relevant.) I’m a teenager from the north side of Chicago with a mostly unplaceable General American accent. I have some general tendencies ...
6 votes
4 answers
5k views

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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
276 views

How do other cultures categorize phonemes?

I don't know where it came from, but the "west" at least as I have learned, came up with the idea of "vowels" and "consonants" at some point, and we just go with that ...
1 vote
1 answer
177 views

A better rule for Canadian Raising

I'm a teenager from Chicago with a pretty standard contemporary Midwestern/General American accent (not distinctly Chicago). I'm interested in the phonetic phenomenon of Canadian Raising, in which ...
0 votes
2 answers
335 views

In languages that allow vowel hiatus, what rules prevent the formation of words consisting only of four or more consecutive syllabic vowels?

For those who came in late, vowel hiatus is a common term for the occurrence of consecutive vowel sounds each of which serves as the nucleus of a syllable. For example, in the word “chaotic” we see ...
2 votes
0 answers
112 views

How did Otto Jespersen figure out the Great Vowel Shift?

How did Otto Jespersen figure out the Great Vowel Shift? Surely, there were no pronunciation audio recordings available. How did he know how British people had pronounced vowels centuries ago? Have ...
4 votes
0 answers
128 views

What's the geographic distribution of the father/bra split in American English?

In most American English dialects with the father/bother merger, the bother vowel (originally /ɔ/) unrounds, lowers, and merges into the father vowel (originally /ɑ/), with the end result being /ɑ/, ...
2 votes
1 answer
128 views

Where is the father vowel found in English?

I was just wondering what words have the father vowel /ɑː/ in accents without the father-bother merger or the trap-bath split. My own accent (Australian English) has the trap-bath split so I can't ...
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the difference between two symbols: /i/ and /ɪ/?

Please tell me the difference between two Short Symbols sounds, /i/ vs. /ɪ/. If there is no difference so why do both of them exist in Cambridge dictionary? In its page pronunciation symbol there is ...
7 votes
2 answers
751 views

is schwa a phoneme in English?

or is it simply an unstressed allophone of unstressed lax vowels? I'm curious because I've heard some people claim that [ə] is not a phoneme and it is just a reduced allophone of all the unstressed ...
0 votes
2 answers
155 views

Is it useful to render French /i y u/ and /j ɥ w/ as allophones?

Because /i y u/ behave so differently to the other French vowels /ɛ ɑ œ ɔ/, which all have tense and nasal variants, while also being symmetrical to the semivowels /j ɥ w/, it is attractive to render ...
0 votes
2 answers
359 views

Why does /ɑ/ sounds so similar to [ɔ]?

For example, the /ɑ/ in the audio examples on this site and in this recording of the GenAm pronunciation of the word "cot" sounds very [ɔ]-like to my ears. my native Georgian language has /ɑ/...
2 votes
1 answer
254 views

Are syllable-timed languages with reduced vowels a thing?

the wiki article on syllable-timed languages says the following Syllable-timed languages tend to give syllables approximately equal prominence and generally lack reduced vowels. Are there any ...

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