Phonetics

English vowel phonemes in speech with Division of English Vowels

English vowel phonemes in speech

Vowel sounds are sounds in the formation of which the airflow freely passes through the oral cavity, without encountering obstacles in its path. Vowels can be one simple sound – monophthong or complex sound – diphthong (like [aɪ] in ice). The vowel system in English includes 20 elements: 12 monophthongs and 8 diphthongs. We are describing here the  English vowel phonemes.

The quality of a vowel is determined by the volume and shape of the oral cavity, therefore, the classification of English vowel phonemes  is based on differences in articulatory features related to the position of the language, such as:

1) row

 the horizontal position of the tongue, correlated with the part of the back of the tongue involved in articulation;

2) ascent

the vertical position of the tongue, correlated with the level of elevation of the tongue in the oral cavity.

There are 3 rows ( front, mixed, back ) and 3 lifts ( high, medium, low ). Both features have three additional gradations. In addition, within each ascent, there are 2 types of vowels (wide and narrow), correlated with the position of the lips and teeth, i.e. with the degree of openness of the oral cavity. English vowels also differ in longitude ( short / long ), tension ( tense / non-tense ), position ( labialized / non- labialized )… Longitude and tension are closely related: long vowels are characterized as tense, while short vowels are characterized as non-tense. When pronouncing labialized vowels, the lips are rounded; when pronouncing non-labialized vowels, the lips retain a neutral or slightly stretched position, as in the case of [i:], [ɪ], [e].

Division of English Vowels

Depending on the stability of articulation, English vowels are divided into

1) monophthongs

when pronounced, the articulation does not change during the entire period of sounding ([ɒ], [ɪ]);

2) diphthongs

consisting of two elements of different quality ([aɪ], [aʊ]).

Vowel phonemes

1-[ɪ]

monophthong of the front pushed back row of a wide variety of high rise, short, relaxed, non-labialized. When pronouncing [ɪ], the tongue is in front of the mouth, the middle part of the tongue is raised to the hard palate, but much lower than when pronouncing Russian / Belarusian [and], the tip of the tongue is at the base of the lower teeth, the lips are slightly stretched. English vowel phonemes in coherent speech

2-[i:]

is a long, tense non-labialized vowel sound of the front row, a narrow variety of high rise. The vowel [i:] is considered a diphthongoid because its articulation is characterized by a slide from a lower and more backward sound [ɪ] to a more closed and forward vowel.

3-[e]

monophthong of the front row of a narrow variety of medium rise, short, unstressed, non-labialized. When pronouncing [e], the tongue is in the front of the mouth, the tip of the tongue is at the base of the lower teeth, the middle part of the tongue is raised to the hard palate, the lips are slightly stretched.

4-[æ]

 Unlabialized front row monophthong of a wide variety of low rise. When pronouncing [æ], the mouth is wide open, the tongue is in the front of the mouth, and the tip of the tongue is at the base of the lower teeth, the tongue lies flat in the mouth, its middle part is slightly raised. The lips are slightly stretched.

5-[ɑ:]

back row monophthong of a wide variety of low rise, long, non-labialized, tense. When pronouncing this sound, the tongue is in the back of the mouth, the back of the tongue is slightly raised. The tip of the tongue is pulled away from the lower teeth. The mouth is slightly parted, the lips are neutral. The vowel [ɑ:] is the longest of the English vowels.

6-[ɒ]

monophthong of the deep posterior row of a wide variety of low rise, short, relaxed, weakly labialized. The tongue is in the back of the mouth, the back of the tongue is raised. The mouth is wide open, the lips are rounded but not extended forward.

7-[ɔ:]

 monophthong of the deep back row of a narrow variety of low rise, long, tense, labialized. The tongue is in the back of the mouth, the back of the tongue is raised to the soft palate (higher than for [ɒ]). The lips are rounded but not protruding.

8-[ʊ]

short, unstressed, slightly labialized monophthong of the posterior advanced row of a wide variety of high rise. The tongue is in the back of the mouth, but not as far away as in the articulation of Russian / Belarusian [y]. The back of the tongue is slightly raised. The lips are rounded but not extended forward.

9-[u:]

 is a long, tense, labialized diphthongoid of a shallow back row of a narrow, high-rise variety. The tongue is in the back of the mouth, the back of the tongue is significantly raised. The diphthongoid character [u:] manifests itself in sliding from a forward and lower position towards the back and a more closed position. The lips are considerably rounded. Compared to English, the Russian / Belarusian sound [y] is more closed.

10-[ʌ]

 is a mixed monophthong of a wide variety of medium-rise, short, relaxed, non-labialized. When pronouncing this sound, the mouth is half-open, the lips are neutral, the tongue is slightly pushed back, the back of the tongue is slightly raised. The vowel [ʌ] is the shortest English vowel sound.

11-[z:]

mixed row monophthong of a narrow variety of medium rise, long, tense, non-labialized. When pronouncing this sound, the tongue lies flat, the tip of the tongue is at the base of the lower teeth. The mouth is half-open, the teeth are bared. This is a long homogeneous sound, when pronounced, the structure of the organs of speech does not change.

12-[ə]

monophthong of a mixed series of medium-rise of a wide variety, non-labialized, short, not tense. When pronouncing this sound, the lips are neutral, the mouth is open, the tongue is in the middle of the mouth. In the final position, the sound quality changes slightly.

13-[eɪ]

 is a diphthong whose nucleus coincides with the vowel [e], ie it is a narrow mid-rise front row vowel, unlabialized. After pronouncing the nucleus, the tongue makes a slight upward movement in the direction of the sound [ɪ], without reaching its full formation.

14-[aɪ]

is a diphthong, the core of which is a front vowel of a wide variety of low rise, non-labialized. After pronouncing the nucleus, the tongue makes an upward movement in the direction of the sound [ɪ], the complete formation of which is not achieved.

15-[ɔɪ]

diphthong, the core of which is the sound of the back row of a narrow variety of low rise, slightly labialized. After pronouncing the nucleus, the tongue makes an upward movement in the direction of the vowel [i], the full formation of which is not achieved.

16-[aʊ]

diphthong. The core of the diphthong is a wide variety, the non-labialized vowel of the low-rise front set back. It is pronounced in much the same way as the first element of the diphthong [a,], then the tongue moves back and up in the direction of the sound [ʊ], the full formation of which is not achieved.

17-[əʊ]

diphthong. The core of the diphthong is a mixed vowel of a narrow variety of medium rise, labialized. After pronouncing the core, the tongue moves up and back in the direction of articulation [ʊ], the full sound of which is not achieved.

18-[ɪə]

diphthong. The core of the diphthong is a high-rise front vowel of a wide variety, unlabialized. After pronouncing the nucleus, the tongue moves towards the center in the direction [ə].

19-[ɛə]

is a diphthong, the core of which is a front vowel of the middle rise, unlabialized, the second element is a neutral vowel.

20-[ʊə]

 is a diphthong, the core of which is a vowel of the back advanced row of a wide variety of high rise, slightly labialized, the second element of the diphthong is a slide towards the neutral vowel [ə].

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker