When there is no contrastive vowel sequence in the language, the diacritic may be omitted. If two vowels next to each other belong to two different syllables hiatus , meaning that they do not form a diphthong, they can be transcribed with two vowel symbols with a period in between. The non-syllabic diacritic is used only when necessary. Note that "falling" and "rising" in this context do not refer to vowel height ; for that, the terms "opening" and "closing" are used instead. See below. The less prominent component in the diphthong may also be transcribed as an approximant , thus [aj] in eye and [ja] in yard.

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Everything to do with phonetics. Please note: comments not signed with your genuine name may be removed. Thursday, 10 December triphthongs, anyone? I mentioned that in LPD I treat them as varisyllabic. Some authors describe the English vowel system as including not only diphthongs but also triphthongs. Peter Roach English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th ed.

They can be rather difficult to pronounce, and very difficult to recognise. A triphthong is a glide from one vowel to another and then to a third, all produced rapidly and without interruption.

Because of this, the middle of the three vowel qualities of the triphthong i. To add to the difficulty, there is also the problem of whether a triphthong is felt to contain one or two syllables. I find this account unsatisfactory. If liar has a triphthong, surely trying must have one. A diphthong is a vowel glide within a single syllable. Similarly, I would argue that part of the definition of a true triphthong must be that it constitutes a single V unit, making with any associated consonants just a single syllable.

Given that, do we have triphthongs in English? I treat the items we are discussing as basically sequences of a strong vowel plus a weak vowel.

These sequences are subject to two possible processes: smoothing and compression. Smoothing means the loss of the second part of the strong vowel diphthong. Compression means the squashing of the two syllables into one syllable. Both of these processes are optional or stylistically determined. If my definition of triphthong holds, then a triphthong would be generated only if we apply Compression without first applying Smoothing.

And my claim is that we do not commonly do that. Posted by.



I am trying to discover whether words like pliers as pronounced in the south of England contain actual triphthongs, and the homophonic playas was chosen to illustrate the apparent paradox of what seem like a pair of identical two-syllable words where at least one is claimed to possess a triphthong in English. To illustrate this, I chose two exact homophones by pairing the word playas with the typical southern English pronunciation of pliers, where a triphthong is alleged to occur. I first verified with native speakers of southern English that they indeed say these two words identically. Although playa derives from the Spanish word for beach, it does not usually mean that in English. The English word playa used here is a technical one having per the OED a primary sense of: A flat silt- or sand-covered area, free of vegetation and usu. The nonsense jingle was provided to make clear both the sense and the pronunciation of playa as discussed in the original post below.


English Diphthongs



Spanish Diphthongs & Triphthongs



Does English really have triphthongs?


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