Questions tagged [vowels]

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

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6
votes
3answers
1k views

What languages have a three-way vowel distinction with backness?

I am learning a Tigrinya for the last couple of months, and find it difficult to grasp and produce the central vowels of the language (see picture). I want to know if there are other languages which ...
11
votes
7answers
21k views

Why are consonants distinguished differently than vowels?

Consonants are distinguished normally by features like place of articulation, manner of articulation, voiced/voiceless, etc. while vowels are usually distingusihed by stuff like tongue's position and ...
4
votes
1answer
401 views

Is there any symbol to represent an unknown vowel?

Is there any symbol to represent a vowel? Is there any symbol to represent a constant? For example "bog", "bat" and "bag" can be represented by b[v][c] or b✦✧. Udate: In a paper I want to describe ...
4
votes
1answer
14k views

How can nasalized vowels in English be explained?

. . .Auntie *Ma*rge's present, see, it's here under. . . [audio source] In the audio above, [mɑː] sounds like this: [..m..] [......ɑː.....] ---- (time) ----> This sounds close to nasalized [ɑː]...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Is there an agreed-upon feature set that defines segments as vowels?

I have a feeling the answer is no, and that there are complications involved, but I was considering this: [-consonantal, +syllabic] This would first remove all consonants, leaving e, u, i, and ...
6
votes
1answer
897 views

What rule governs the vowel alternations in Latin caput/capit-/-cep(t)-/-cipit-/-ciput?

In different forms, the Latin root caput "head" appears with different vowels: a-u: caput (nominative singular); a-i: capitis (genitive singular), capitī (dative singular), capita (nominative plural),...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Vowel harmony in Spanish?

Some irregular Spanish verbs with infinite in "-ir" seem to have an interesting pattern in their conjugation: For some verbs with "o" as last vowel in the infinite stem (e.g. dormir, morir), the form ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the most common vowel? [closed]

Of all the languages for which there is sufficient data, including extinct languages, which vocalic speech sound, or phone, as represented by the IPA, has been used most?
11
votes
6answers
49k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

Difference between production of vowels, diphthongs and semi-vowels

I am studying speech recognition by Lawrence Rabiner's book. I am unable to find a proper and easy to understand answer for the following question : Difference between production of vowels, ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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, ...
3
votes
2answers
378 views

How usual is it for languages to have multiple contrasting “neutral” vowels?

First of all, I used scare quotes on "neutral" because I can't think of a better word. I was going to say "central vowels" but that would cover some "a"-like vowels whereas I am only thinking of "...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

How can the IPA vowels be memorized?

Memorizing IPA consonants is trivially easy; each symbol represents one sound, and that sound can be described with a variety of parameters about manner of articulation, etc. The IPA vowels, however, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What do the “less-than” and “greater-than” signs mean when used as IPA vowel diacritics?

I was recently reading an academic paper on Amdo Tibetan phonetics and the author uses IPA vowel diacritics that look like "less-than" and "greater-than" signs. Here is a picture so you know what I'm ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Is there a language with but one vowel sound?

Is there a language known to have no minimal pairs separating vowels, or in which only one vowel exists phonemically in the language, or whose speakers don't detect a difference between any two vowels ...
5
votes
1answer
350 views

How do linguists determine at which point the Great Vowel Shift was complete?

The chart below shows a chain of sound changes that happened to the English language, from 1400 onwards. Although the chart was intended to describe the Great Vowel Shift, it is not accurate*, since ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Does the syllable/word ratio in a language determine the number of vowel phonemes it has?

I've recently stumbled on this site dedicated to teaching English as a second language to Portuguese speakers. Right at the beginning, while making a comparison among English and Portuguese ...
4
votes
1answer
378 views

Literature on “broken vowels”

I am looking for any recent studies dealing substantially with "broken vowels," or vocoid elements which have a noticeably nonstable formant trajectory, yet for which there are no good phonological ...
1
vote
1answer
411 views

Systematic means of transcribing words to vowel/consontant patterns

Looking for a systematic online step-by-step process to codify English words into vowel/consontant patterns (CVC, CVCe, CVVC, etc.) and the correct sound (long-vowel, short-vowel, blend, diagraph, etc....
9
votes
4answers
2k views

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

The close-mid back rounded vowel is, according to Wikipedia, "usually diphthongized to [oʊ]". Examples: row, also. In fact, in the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary I didn't see o ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Which languages other than Chinese have apical vowels?

Which languages other than some Chinese languages have apical vowels? The "apical vowels" are the i in zi, ci, si (in IPA: z̩ (also seen as ɿ)) and ʐ̩ (also seen as ʅ). They are basically buzzed ...
11
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
42
votes
6answers
5k views

How do linguists place the vowels of a language precisely on the vowel trapezoid?

Since vowels in human speech are a continuous spectrum rather than a discrete set, many descriptions of languages I’ve seen — not only on Wikipedia — place the vowels of a language as dots in a two-...
6
votes
4answers
261 views

Distinction of vowels depends on native language

I have seen a computer experiment at a science museum that asked the user to distinguish very similar vowels by sound explaining that visitors with different native language can distinguish different ...

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