Vowels 2 LIN 3201 Some reminders about vowels 1. Vowels are described in three basic parameters: Tongue height: [i] vs. [a]
(high vs. low /close vs. open) Tongue backness: [i] vs. [u] (front vs. back) Lip rounding: [i] vs. [y] (rounded vs. unrounded) 2. Vowels, as syllable nuclei, may occur alone in the nucleus or with other sounds Pure vowels a single vowel that maintains tongue positioning and lip rounding state
during entire production of the vowel; [i] or [o] Glided vowels a combination of a vowel and another vowel or an approximant in the same syllable; tongue and lip position glides from production of sound a to sound b; [iy] or [ow] Also known as diphthongs Perceived as being a single unit
3. Vowels are organized into a reference system known as Cardinal Vowels (CVs) Cardinal vowels are a system of universal reference vowels They dont necessarily coincide with vowels of any one language (Especially not English!)
Considered to be auditorily equidistant steps, so your tongue doesnt necessarily move in equidistant steps They are all peripheral (occurring at the outermost boundaries of the vowel system) and pure
Primary CVs From 1-2-3-4 are equidistant steps; steps 5-8 continue with increasing roundness Secondary CVs Version of Primary CVs with opposite rounding; because rounding state affects acoustics, steps are not equidistant like they are with primary CVs 4. Some languages use an additional features to describe
vowel qualities Sometimes called tense vs. lax vowels, where tense = tightened tongue musculature Used to distinguish vowels in English [i] vs. [I] Be cautious, this terminology is controversial
Some languages, like Akan or Twi, do have a vowel distinction in pharynx width ATR Advanced Tongue Root is a better description than tense or lax (+ATR or ATR) Involves lowering the larynx or advancing the root of the tongue so that the pharyngeal cavity is enlarged
5. There are additional modifications affecting vowels Nasalization send air through nasal cavity during production of vowel Voicelessness devoice vowel Length vowel increase in length Diphthongs combine with another vowel (or approximant) in same syllable
Rhotacization adding r-coloring to vowel, as in American English pronunciation of bird Gliding in general adding vowel or approximant in the same syllable before producing the primary vowel (on-glide) or after (off-glide) Samples of vowel modification
KNOW the diacritics for voicelessness, nasalazation and length! IPA Vowel Chart for LIN 3201 Courtesy of Dr. Caroline Wiltshire
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