Seminar paper JEZSEJ115
THE TYPES OF VOWEL SOUNDS IN ENGLISH
( Short and long vowels, diphthongs )
- SHORT VOWELS
- LONG VOWELS
- SCHWA - ÃÂ
Vowels are funny things in two very different ways. First, they are always produced with one's vocal folds vibrating and - in contrast to most consonants -without any obstruction from one's tongue or lips. When one pronounces a vowel (as for instance a very long i:::: ) the air escapes freely between the tongue and palate. If the tongue is moved higher while pronouncing the ( i :::: ), one can begin to feel the point of obstruction as the friction sets and it becomes a ( j :::: ). We might describe vowels as sounds you does not feel. Vowels are the portions of an utterance that stand out the most because they carry the syllables along.
Vowels help to keep words apart. For example, a 'cat' is not a 'cut' or a 'coot'. Vowels vary a lot from dialect to dialect, so we are accustomed to being flexibile about vowel quality. The variation of vowels within regional dialect indicates a very important secondary function that they have in verbal communication. They give very weighty signals about the geographical and social background of the speaker. The strange thing about vowels is that they are produced without any clear contact between the articulators, which means that they can not be learned in the same way as consonants. It is not possible to give instruction such as, "place your tongue tip against the edge of the upper front teeth".
As an example: concentrate on the body of your tongue while you pronounce a long vowel such as ( i:::: ) or ( a:::: ) as in...