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Semi-vowels and vowel glides


Title: Chapter Two Speech Sounds Author: MC SYSTEM Last modified by: Baobao Created Date: 9/19/2006 3:02:58 PM Document presentation format: – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Semi-vowels and vowel glides

Semi-vowels and vowel glides
  • Theoretically, as far as phoneticians are
    concerned, any segment must be either a vowel or
    a consonant. If a segment is not a vowel, it is a
  • The problematic area is that the initial sound in
    hot gives little turbulence, depending on how
    forcefully it is said, and in yet and wet the
    initial segments are obviously vowels.

  • To get out of this problem, the usual solution is
    to say that these segments are neither vowels nor
    consonants but midway between the two categories.
  • For this purpose, the terms semi-vowel or, less
    commonly, semi-consonant, are often used.

  • Languages also frequently make use of a
    distinction between vowels where the quality
    remains constant throughout the articulation and
    those where there is an audible change of
    quality. The former are known as pure or
    monophthong vowels and the latter, vowel glides.

  • If a single movement of the tongue is involved,
    the glides are called diphthongs.
  • Diphthongal glides in English can be heard in
    such words as way ???, tide ????, how ???,
    toy ???, and toe ???.

  • A double movement produces triphthongs.
  • A triphthong is a glide from one vowel to
    another and then to a third, all produced rapidly
    and without interruption (Roach, 2000 24).
  • They are really diphthongs followed by the schwa
    ?, found in English words like wire ???? and
    tower ????.

The vowels of English (RP)
  • There are certain differences between the
    qualities of vowels in RP and GA.
  • Notably, the central vowels ??? are r-colored
    or rhotic for GA, transcribed as ?? and ??,
    respectively. It means that they involve curling
    the tip of the tongue up in a gesture of
    retroflection and the phenomenon is known as
    r-coloring or rhoticity.

  • Another major difference is that in GA ? is
    used where it is ? in RP and ? replaces ??
    in RP.
  • Other minor differences exist but they do not
    lead to noticeable effects to the ordinary

(No Transcript)
The description of these vowels needs to fulfill
four basic requirements
  • the height of tongue raising (high, mid, low)
  • the position of the highest part of the tongue
    (front, central, back)
  • the length or tenseness of the vowel (tense vs.
    lax or long vs. short), and
  • lip-rounding (rounded vs. unrounded).

  • Now we can describe the English vowels in this
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