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31 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Characteristics of a Vowel
1. Vowels are voiced
2. Vowels resonate in the oral cavity
3. No significant constrictions/ open vocal tract
4. Vowels are the nucleus of a syllable
Two types
1. Monothong (pure vowel) - 1 sound
2. Diphthong - 2 sound qualities
Two Types of Vowels
Monothong: a “pure” vowel, having a single, unchanging sound quality
• Diphthong: a vowel-like sound which involves a gradual transition from one vowel articulation (onglide) to another (offglide)
– Ex. say HE and then HIGH
Physical Description of a Vowel
Tongue height –
vertical position of tongue - high to low
Tongue advancement –
front to back continuum (front, central, back)
Tenseness or Duration
tense vowels are longer
lax vowels are shorter
Lip rounding
Tenseness is described by:
Muscle Activity
Tense vowels: have greater muscle activity and longer duration
/i, u, ɔ, e, o, ɝ/
Lax vowels: less muscle activity, shorter duration
/ɪ, ɛ, æ, ʊ, ɑ, ə, ʌ, ɚ/
• (hit, get, cat, book, father, some)
Lip Rounding
Rounded vowels: produced with the lips in a pursed and protruded state
/u, ʊ, o, ɔ, ɚ, ɝ/

Unrounded vowels: no pursing or protrusion
/i, ɪ, ɛ, e, æ, ə, ʌ, a/
Front Vowels
Feet Fit Locate Fed Sat

i ɪ e ɛ æ
Eat, Read, Cheese

Tongue - high, front, tense; Lips – unrounded
Always in stressed syllables; never in an unstressed syllable.
city it in if ill is
Tongue - high-mid, front, lax; Lips – unrounded
/ɪr/ = “EAR”
/ɪ/ is the final sound in most words ending in “y”
If you think you hear /i/ in an unstressed syllable, it is really /ɪ/ (warranty v. warrantee)
ate, date, locate

Tongue - mid, front, tense; Lips - unrounded

monothong - shorter, stable tongue
its Diphthong is /eɪ (with a line over it)/ (obey, stay) -more stressed (longer duration), slight tongue movement
bed, send, rest

Tongue - low-mid, front, lax
Lips – unrounded

/ɛr/ = “AIR”
sand, candy, blank

Tongue – low, front, lax
Lips – unrounded

Is generally not followed by /r/ in American English within the same syllable. For example, in the word “larynx” [læriŋks] the /æ/ and the /r/ are in different syllables.
Central Vowels
ɝ, ɚ, ɘ, ʌ

Tongue body is in center of mouth on back-front continuum
most at mid height as well
Stress placed on syllable is a factor in differentiating central vowels

further fɝðɚ
above ɘbʌv
Central Vowel
tub, fun, up
Tongue: low-mid, back-central (only central vowel to be low-mid rather than mid)
Lips: unrounded
CAROT or “stressed schwa” is always in a stressed syllable.
UNDER (first syllable)
OTHER (first syllable)
ABUT (second syllable)
ABDUCT (second syllable
Central Vowel /ə/“Schwa”
This is the unstressed counterpart of /ʌ/
This is the unstressed counterpart of last vowel
/1/ (schwa) is the most-frequently occurring speech sound in the English language.
Many vowels when neutralized go to /1/.
/1/ is always in unstressed syllables.
/ə/ (schwa) is the most-frequently occurring speech sound in the English language.
Many vowels when neutralized go to /ə/.
/ə/ is always in unstressed syllables.
Final sound in Father, Offer
Sometimes called schwar
Tongue: mid central, lax, usually bunched in palatal area
Lips: usually rounded
Unstressed - Does not occur in single syllables
“ER” at the end of a muti-syllable word is always /ɚ/
bird, turn, word, birthday
Tongue - mid-central, tense; Lips – rounded
“Stressed schwar”
This vowel is always stressed
When “ER” is in a stressed syllable, it is represented by the stressed “ER” symbol /ɝ/.
Central Vowel
Not a normal pronunciation in American English
Text calls it the “British or Southern pronunciation”
It is /6/ without the “r coloring”
Tongue: mid-central; Lips: rounded
"eauhly" "tuhn" "buhthday"-not as much tension in the tongue, distortion of stressed schwar
Back Vowels
u boot

ʊ could
o locate
ɔ caught
ɑ rock

All somewhat rounded except except the lowest one / ɑ /
Back Vowel

mule, who
Tongue: high, back, tense; Lips: rounded
In mule, what precedes the vowel? “YOU” is not /u/. “You” is /ju/
“Thus CUES is “kyuz” and COOS is /kuz/
FOOL is /ful/ while FUEL is /fjul/
Back Vowel
sugar, book, could

Can contrast tension for the 2 highest back vowels as we did for front vowels / i / & / I /

Tongue: high-mid, back, lax
Lips: rounded
Back Vowel
rotate, don't, ocean
Unstressed counterpart of diphthong /oʊ/ (with line over it) (e.g. toes)

Tongue: mid, back, tense
Lips: rounded
Back Vowel
all, taught, cough, daughter

Tongue: low-mid, back, tense; Lips: rounded

Production of this vowel varies with dialect more than any other

When you hear “OR” it is either /or/ or /ɔr/ - our text uses /ɔr / Ex. more = /mɔr /, but /or/ is also acceptable transcription
Back Vowel
calm, college, lock

Lips: unrounded, with mouth open
Vowels with two sound qualities because of the movement of the articulators

Diphthong phonetic symbols have 2 parts
bar is placed over the 2 symbols to show they are joined /ɔɪ/, /aɪ/, /aʊ/, /eɪ/, /oʊ/
hi, bye, ice
boy, foil
cow, cloud
toe, own
day, straight
/eɪ/ and /oʊ/
dipthong counterparts to e and o
Articulatory Modifications
vowels that are adjacent to a nasal sound are generally nasalized somewhat
Reduction in stress on the vowel
in connected speech vowels often get reduced to /ə/

vowels can become rhotacized when adjacent to /r/