Questions tagged [vowels]

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

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13 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
46 views

I have been reconstructing Austro-Thai but the vowels are inconsistent

I have been reconstructing Austro-Thai believing it to be a rather easy undertaking and it mostly was, the consonants between the two language families line up rather well only with occasional ...
1 vote
1 answer
105 views

why pronunciations of cardinal vowel No.4 [a] are so different?

The cardinal vowel No.4 [a] pronounced by Daniel Jones and some other linguistics sounds more like /æ/ as in cat. but this cardinal vowel pronounced in the IPA website(by 4 speakers) sounds more like ...
0 votes
1 answer
36 views

can a sibilant consonant like /s/ and /ʃ/ cause centralization of a following vowel?

As a native speaker of Georgian I recently noticed that in my idiolect the sibilants like /ʃ/ /s/ can make vowels /i/ and /ɑ/ sound more 'centralized', for example: /ʃiʃi/, "fear". and /...
2 votes
1 answer
102 views

Does double tone mean long vowel?

After looking into the IPA for some words in tonal languages, I am starting to see things like ăn (Vietnamese), which are transcribed with two like tone marks, like ʔan˧˧. What does it mean when two ...
4 votes
1 answer
381 views

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]?
1 vote
1 answer
119 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
107 views

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 [....
-4 votes
2 answers
340 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
71 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
73 views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
110 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
61 views

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? ...
4 votes
0 answers
58 views

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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
49 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
100 views

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 = ...
3 votes
1 answer
174 views

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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
332 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
163 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
201 views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
263 views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
726 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
160 views

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/ ...
16 votes
4 answers
8k views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
210 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
192 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
171 views

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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
81 views

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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
315 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 vote
1 answer
180 views

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 ...
0 votes
3 answers
181 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
50 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
773 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 the page Formant Frequencies. Alternatively, we can ...
2 votes
1 answer
578 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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
75 views

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.
0 votes
4 answers
251 views

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 ...
13 votes
6 answers
53k views

How to distinguish Korean "ㅔ" /e/ and "ㅐ" /ɛ/?

I've always had trouble with the distinction between the "e"-like vowels in European languages: /e/ vs /ɛ/. But pronouncing them the same has never caused me any problems. In fact I don't even know ...
1 vote
0 answers
54 views

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 (...
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are there languages without vowel reduction?

Are there languages without vowel reduction? That is, are there languages in which the vowels in certain syllables are not centralized and/or "de-rounded" and/or shortened because of speaking rate, ...
0 votes
1 answer
108 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
70 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
271 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
253 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 & ...
0 votes
2 answers
290 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? (...
8 votes
2 answers
712 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 ...
11 votes
5 answers
13k views

In Turkish, how exactly does "ğ" affect the vowel it follows?

In Standard Turkish, "ğ" is explained as having no sound of its own but instead lengthens the previous vowel. So would "aa" and "ağ" sound alike? What about "â" and "ağa"? Can there sometimes be ...
0 votes
1 answer
247 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
60 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 (...