So, how many vowels did you say ther are in English?
In some languages [ts] and [dz] are phonemes but not in English. In the language where ''tsar'' comes from [ts] is thought of as a phoneme. An affricive of the language. But, in English [ts] is not a phoneme. but is [t] plus [s].
''Loch, like Paul, counts /ju:/ as a phoneme. I don't agree.''
Well, what do you think about this list of phonemes? Which of these do you think are phonemes and which of these do you think are not phonemes?
[@]-cat, calf, half, ant, aunt, bag
[e]-set, get, ten, fence
[a:]-hot, caught, father
[i:] seed, greet, leak
[u:] food, grew, new, shoe, suit
[ju:] mute, beautiful
[a:] hot, father, caught
[i:] seed, greet, leak
[u:] food, grew, new, shoe, suit
[ju:] mute, beautiful
[e:(r)]-burglar, dirt, hurt
[u..(r)]-cure, pure, tour
Phonemes that don't exist in most dialects but exist in some.
[W]-whale, what, when- ''used by those who distinguish ''whine/wine''
[A]-made, daze, pane, mane, ate= ''A monophthong used by some Northern Irish people that distinguish these words from ''maid'', ''days'', ''pain'', ''main'' and ''eight''.
[O]-toe, sole, nose, groan=A ''A monophthong used by people from Liverpool people that distinguish these words from ''tow'', ''soul'', ''knows'' and ''grown''.
[E]-tenner ''used by some Northern Irish people that distinguish this word from ''tenor'' by using a longer vowel.''
Other phonemes that some people may use but most people don't.
[n:]-contretemps ''nasal vowels''
[L]-Llwyd ''Welsh voiceless ''l''
[R]-rouge ''voiced uvular fricative'' [Ru:Z] ''parisian French pronunciation''.
[?]-hawai'ian ''how the word is pronounced and spelled in the Hawai'ian language'' [h..wai?i(:)] ''glottal stop''
[B]-Cuba [ku:Ba:] ''voiced bilabial fricative''= ''Spanish pronunciation of the name, different to [b] and [v].
[l:]=belle=light ''l'' at the end of a syllable. ''French pronunciation of the word''. ''belle''=[bel:] as distinguish from ''bell'' which has a dark ''l''.
Jim and I have been mentioning a lot about this on a spelling reform thread that Willy has been writing all his ''bwauk'' nonsense in and ''Garr'' had been calling my reform proposal shitty. I'm starting a new thread about my improved spelling reform proposal on a Europa forum.
perhaps in this thread Willy won't write his ''bwauk'' nonsense.
Jim, some people call [hw] a phoneme. What do you think about that? Does [hw] count as a phoneme?
I don't think that [hw] is a phoneme. All that [hw] is is [h] plus [w]. However, [hw] is not the only way to pronounce /W/.
To explain what I mean let me clarify some of the symbols I'll be using. I'm putting phones in square brackets and phonemes in slashes.
I refer to three distinct phones*: [h], [w] and [W].
[h] is the voiceless glottal fricative
[w] is the voiceless labial-velar fricative
[W] is the voiced labial-velar approximate
I also refer to the following phonemes.
/h/ is the "h" sound in "hard", "hand", "hitch", etc.
/w/ is the "w" sound in "ward", "wand", "witch", etc.
/W/ is the "wh" sound in "wharf", "when", "which", etc.
For most of us /W/ is not a phoneme but for some it is. There are three types of accent when it comes to "wh" verses.
1) Speakers with the first type pronounce both /w/ and /W/ as [w].
2) Speakers with the second type pronounce /w/ as [w] and /W/ as [hw]. 3) Speakers with the first type pronounce /w/ as [w] and /W/ as [W].
Only in accents of the third type is /W/ a phoneme.
* See the IPA chart http://www2.arts.gla.ac.uk/IPA/fullchart.html
I've seen [hw] called a phoneme before and I've also even seen people call [hj] a phoneme. I've even seen some spelling reform proposals spelling [hj] as ''yh'', ''human'', ''huge'', ''humor'', ''humongous'' etc. become ''yhoomun'', ''yhooj'', ''yhoomer'', and ''yhoomungus'' etc.,'I don't like the idea.'', I think is a very bad idea.
I've even heard that some people use a ''voiceless ''y'' instead of [hj] in words like ''human'', ''huge'', ''humor'' and ''humongous'', written in Sampa as [C]. [Cu:m..n], [Cu:j], [Cu:m..r] and [Cu:m^Ng..s]. So, for them I guess [hj] counts as a seperate phoneme.
I think that using ''yh'' in words like ''human'' looks really really really odd.
I'm a speaker of the first type. I pronounce [w] and [W] as [w].
I think it's best to make the distinction between phonetics and phonology. Phonetics deals with phones and phonology deals with phonemes (this is obviously a simplification but it will do for now).
This site explains the distinction between "phone" and "phoneme".
When you're comparing vowels on the basis of length it's phonetics you're talking about. Comparison of phonemes is a much more complex affair.
In my accent there are some long vowels which sound like long versions of short vowels.
A1) /i:/ sounds pretty much like a long version of /i/,
A2) /e../ sounds pretty much like a long version of /e/ &
A3) /a:/ sounds pretty much like a long version of /^/
A4) /e:/ sounds pretty much like a long version of /../ but
A5) /o:/ doesn't sound much like a long version of /o/ &
A6) /u:/ doesn't sound much like a long version of /u/.
Compare this to the case of RP.
B1) /i:/ sounds less like a long version of /i/,
B2) /e../ is a diphthong,
B3) /a:/ sounds like a long version of something between /^/ and /o/,
B4) /e:/ sounds like a long version of /../,
B5) /o:/ doesn't sound much a like long version of /o/ &
B6) /u:/ sounds more a like long version of /u/.
Now have a look at the Kiwi accent.
NZ1) /i:/ doesn't sound much like a long version of /i/,
NZ2) /e../ is a diphthong,
NZ3) /a:/ sounds pretty much like a long version of /^/
NZ4) /e:/ sounds almost like a long version of /i/ but
NZ5) /o:/ sound more like long version of /u/ than of /o/ &
NZ6) /u:/ doesn't sound much like long version of /u/.
Then you have US accents. Have a look at the Midwest US accent.
MWUS1) /i:/ doesn't sound much like a long version of /i/,
MWUS2) /e../ doesn't exist,
MWUS3) /a:/ sounds unlike a long version of /^/ and /o/ doesn't exist,
MWUS4) /e:/ sounds more like a long version of /../ than in the 1st 3 accents,
MWUS5) /o:/ can't sound much a like long version of /o/ because there is no /o/ &
MWUS6) /u:/ and /u/ are similar to the RP ones.
Have a look at the Californian accent though,
C1) /i:/ sounds even less like a long version of /i/,
C2) /e../ doesn't exist but /ei/ sounds a little like a long version of /i/,
C3) /a:/ sounds unlike a long version of /^/ and /o/ doesn't exist,
C4) /e:/ sounds more like a long version of /../ than in the 1st 3 accents,
C5) /o:/ can't sound much a like long version of /o/ because there is no /o/ &
C6) /u:/ and /u/ are similar to the RP ones.
I'm basing this analysis on "The Vowels of Australian English and Other English Dialects" http://www.ling.mq.edu.au/units/ling210-901/phonetics/ausenglish/auseng_vowels.html
''I've seen [hw] called a phoneme before and I've also even seen people call [hj] a phoneme. I've even seen some spelling reform proposals spelling [hj] as ''yh'', ''human'', ''huge'', ''humor'', ''humongous'' etc. become ''yhoomun'', ''yhooj'', ''yhoomer'', and ''yhoomungus'' etc.,'I don't like the idea.'', I think is a very bad idea.''
Loch, You're right, respelling words that begin with [hju:] such, as ''human'' to begin with ''yh'' is a very bad idea.
Sorry, my mistake. I was talking about Rhotic pronunciation.
In Non-Rhotic English where the "R" sound is not pronounced, you lengthen the vowel or make it into a Dipthong to maintan some kind of Phonemic distinction.
I prefer Rhotic English because the vowel system is a lot simpler.
The er sound is quite different in a Rhotic pronunciation.
The e:r sound we are taking about is much more likely to be found in Where and air, than turn and learn.
The simpler Rhotic pronunciation is at least as understandable, especially by American, and much easier to learn, by people with a Romance Language as their first language.
Sorry to confuse the issue earlier.
Regards, Paul V.
Thanks for determining where my personal list of Phonemes differed from the ASCII Alphabet. Surprisingly my list is only missing 2 Phonemes.
Both of which are typically not used in a Mid-west American accent.
I can't even reliably differentiate /o/ from /a/. The are both low back vowels to me. There is more rounding on /o/ maybe.
I can hear the u.. sound, but it isn't really used anymore.
Maybe in the brand Coors beer or tour, but I hear tourist as te:rist.
Pu..r is acceptable is slight archaic for poor, but invariably I hear local people say po:r. And even in the archaic form it sounds like 2 Phonemes not one.
Juan indicates he can only distinguish 12 Phonemes and in all likelihood can only produce 9 distinct sounds from the 12 that he knows about.
According to my list there are 16 vowels in English. A Schwa, 10 normal vowels (6 soft, 4 long) and 5 Dipthongs. Some exclude the (ju:) Dipthong Phoneme (few,new,cute).
See 1,2,3,11,19,20,35,36,38,39,41,42,43,45,46 and 47 on previous list.
There are also 6 vowel consonant merges which you may or may not consider as phonemes.
er, ir, ar, air, or and el. I hear them as one smooth uninterrupted sound.
I don't include ai.r, i:.r, u:.r, au.r as a single phonemes, because I hear a sound change between the 2 sounds.
You would hear it in the words fire, ear, Boer, our, hour.
Regards, Paul V.
It seems most of the accent variation is in a relatively small number of vowels
15 vowels then.
Any disagreeable ones to contradict me.
Perhaps this post can be closed?
Ok, thanks for the links Jim.
I lied. I can distinguish 11.
So, there eleven vowels that I can distinguish from each other.
My main problem is with the SCHWA vowel. I pronounce it like the A in BART but shorter. I don't know if that's correct.
My dictionary has three more vowels included that surprised me.
They are the O in BON of BON VOYAGE (French voice)
The I in VIN (French voice)
The UE in RUE (French voice)
Do any native speakers use this vowels in the English system?
BYE, BAY, BOY
HEAR, HAIR, TOUR
Diphthongs are pretty easy.
"But, in English [ts] is not a phoneme. but is [t] plus [s]."
tsar, star, sar, tar: are 4 different words and the only thing that distinguishes them are 2 phonemes (s and t) used in 4 combinations.
For certain speakers, "where" and "wear" are always pronounced differently and are told apart by the "h". So why are /hw/ and /w/ considered 2 different phonemes?
Wow. English pretty complex. There are many more variations between the English dialects that I was aware of. You know so much abou this subjec Jim. Thanks for going to all that trouble in explaining to me the differences between the dialects. It makes Spanish look so simple in comparison.
Keep this thread alive. It's good, trust me.