Why is Spanish said to have only five vowels?

mratx512   Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:12 am GMT
Reading around antimoon.com I came across this:

""The Italian language has got 7 vowels a, i, u, , , , unlike Greek, Spanish or Japanese which only possess five vowels a e i o u.""

I don't know if the person who posted that was or is correct. However my question is; why are the , , , , , in Spanish not considered vowels but in Italian they are?
Franco   Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:24 am GMT
That person is right: is the same vowel than a. Accute accent in Spanish just means that syllable is accentuated when speaking whereas in other languages like Italian or French it denotes vowel quality. Also and u are the same, dieresis is used to note that u is pronounced and not silent in ue, ui clusters. For example in "cigea" u is pronounced whereas in "que" is not . Hope that helps.
Guio   Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:35 am GMT
in standard Italian (spoken in Central Itali):

vnti ( = open e) : winds
vnti ( = close e): twenty

crso ( = open o): Corsican
crso ( = close o): course

and many many more examples
in Spanish, you cannot find these differences because
there is only one e and one o.
Franco   Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:49 am GMT
Yes, but in real life many Italians don't make the distinction or pronounce closed what should be an open vowel and vice-versa.
Another Guest   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:30 am GMT
Spanish has only five monophthongs, but it has a few diphthongs in addition to those. For instance, the pronunciation of the English word "I" corresponds to the Spanish word "hay". What is in English written as a simple vowel is, in Spanish, written as a compound of two different vowels.
Guested   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:59 am GMT
"I" and "hay" are not pronounced the same. "I" is /aI/ and "hay" is /ai/.
yuii   Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:33 pm GMT
<<Reading around antimoon.com I came across this:

""The Italian language has got 7 vowels a, i, u, , , , unlike Greek, Spanish or Japanese which only possess five vowels a e i o u.""

I don't know if the person who posted that was or is correct. However my question is; why are the , , , , , in Spanish not considered vowels but in Italian they are? >>


The person who wrote that was referring to the phonetic vowel inventory of these languages, not the number of written varieties of written vowels. In the Italian writing system, the vowels a, i, u, , , and happen to correspond to the 7 vowel phonemes of the Italian vowel inventory. It was just easier than writing these sounds using the IPA.

The number of written vowels has nothing to do with the vowel inventory of a language. Spanish uses accents but has 5 vowels, whereas English doesn't use any accents, yet its vowel inventory is much larger than that of Spanish.
mummra   Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:13 pm GMT
Yui, the post you quoted, as you correctly speculated, is wrong as wrong can be.

Not sure where this thing about the 7 vowels comes from (apart from Wikipedia).

Italian has 5 vowels and that is it. a, e, i, o, u in the ortographic sense. This is what we have always been taught at school.

The 7 vowels thing is a myth and is related to the fact we have open and closed e's and o's.

Schools in italy teach 5 vowels-search google and see for yourself.

You will see some scientific papers where the 7 vowels are mentioned, but that is related to complex phonological studies.

Wikipedia is great, but cannot be trusted as the be-all and end-all.


The italian alphabet has 21 letters, abcdefghilmnopqrstuvz. i count 5 vowels.


And with regards to greek:

α Α alpha (a)
ε Ε epsilon (short e)
η Η eta (long e)
ι Ι iota (i)
ο Ο omicron (short o)
ω Ω omega (long 0)
υ Υ upsilon (u)

and some add ου ΟΥ as a vowel (omicron+upsilon) (ou)

5 vowels? i think not, greek has 7 or 8.
Paloma   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:49 pm GMT
Yes, but in real life many Italians don't make the distinction or pronounce closed what should be an open vowel and vice-versa.

//
We're comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
Standard Spanish vs. Standard Italian.

In Colombian Spanish, b in arbol is the hard consonant, as in English, and not soft as in Spain. We cannot generalize and say Spanish does not have softening of b intervocalically or in this particular case ''arbol''
Fabio   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:52 pm GMT
Italian has seven vowel phonemes: /a/, /e/, /ɛ/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /u/, represented by five letters: "a, e, i, o, u". The pairs /e/-/ɛ/, and /o/-/ɔ/ are seldom distinguished in writing and often confused, even though most varieties of Italian employ both phonemes consistently. Compare, for example standard "perch" [perˈke] (why, because) and "senti" [ˈsɛnti] (you hear), as pronounced by most central and southern speakers, with [perˈkɛ] and [ˈsenti], employed by most northern speakers. As a result, the usage is strongly indicative of a person's origin. The standard (Tuscan) usage of these vowels is listed in vocabularies, and employed outside Tuscany mainly by specialists, especially actors and very few (television) journalists. These are truly different phonemes, however: compare /ˈpeska/ (fishing) and /ˈpɛska/ (peach), both spelled pesca (About this sound listen (helpinfo)). Similarly /ˈbotte/ ('barrel') and /ˈbɔtte/ ('beatings'), both spelled botte, discriminate /o/ and /ɔ/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_language#Vowels


Pronouncing Italian CONSISTENTLY with only 5 vowel is so unitalian, it's foreign sounding, it's bad accent.
Franco   Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:08 pm GMT
<<We're comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
Standard Spanish vs. Standard Italian.

In Colombian Spanish, b in arbol is the hard consonant, as in English, and not soft as in Spain. We cannot generalize and say Spanish does not have softening of b intervocalically or in this particular case ''arbol''

>>


You are still comparing apples to oranges cause Spanish has several standards unlike Italian.
Franco   Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:16 pm GMT
<<We're comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
Standard Spanish vs. Standard Italian.

In Colombian Spanish, b in arbol is the hard consonant, as in English, and not soft as in Spain. We cannot generalize and say Spanish does not have softening of b intervocalically or in this particular case ''arbol''

>>


You are still comparing apples to oranges cause Spanish has several standards unlike Italian.
Morad   Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:21 pm GMT
Last time I checked there was only one standard Spanish language unlike Portuguese.
Franco   Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:26 pm GMT
Maybe you checked badly.
KORASSN   Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:27 pm GMT
Your English sucks big time.