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Diphthong

From Academic Kids

In phonetics, a diphthong (Greek δίφθογγος, "diphthongos", literally "with two sounds") is a vowel combination usually involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. While "pure" vowels, or monophthongs, are said to have one target tongue position, diphthongs have a moving tongue. Pure vowels are represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by one symbol: English "seem" as , for example. Diphthongs are represented by two symbols, for example English "same" as , where the two vowel symbols are intended to represent approximately the beginning and ending tongue positions.

Falling diphthongs are stressed on the first element; rising diphthongs on the second. In Closing diphthongs, the second element is closer than the first; in opening diphthongs, more opened. A centering diphthong is one that begins with a more peripheral vowel and ends with a more central one, such as and in Irish. Some languages contrast short and long diphthongs.

The unstressed elements of the diphthongs may be transcribed as semivowels. However, when the whole diphthong is analysed as being one single phoneme, both elements are often transcribed as vowels.

Diphthongs in General American:

  • as in house
  • as in kite
  • as in same
  • as in few (This is phonemically analyzed as a sequence of a semivowel and a monophthong.)
  • as in hope
  • as in join

Diphthongs in British English (RP):

  • as in hope
  • as in house
  • as in kite
  • as in same
  • as in few (This is phonemically analyzed as a sequence of a semivowel and a monophthong.)
  • as in join
  • as in fear
  • as in hair
  • as in poor

The latter three diphthongs also occur in the Boston accent.

(see International Phonetic Alphabet for English for more)

Diphthongs in Spanish:

  • as in comedia
  • as in tierra
  • as in dio
  • as in ciudad
  • as in guante
  • as in fuego
  • as in pingüino
  • as in ambiguo
  • as in hay
  • as in rey
  • as in hoy
  • as in muy
  • as in Jauja
  • as in feudo

Some Diphthongs in French:

  • as in roi
  • as in oui
  • as in huit
  • as in bien
  • as in Ariège

Diphthongs in Finnish

  • as in laiva
  • as in keinu
  • as in poika
  • as in uida
  • as in lyijy
  • as in äiti
  • as in öisin
  • as in lauha
  • as in leuto
  • as in viulu
  • as in koulu
  • as in leyhyä
  • as in siistiytyä
  • as in täysi
  • as in löytää
  • as in kieli
  • as in suo
  • as in

Diphthongs in German:

  • as in Reich
  • as in Maus
  • as in neu

Diphthongs in Northern Sami

  • as in leat
  • as in giella
  • as in boahtit
  • as in vuodjat

Some Diphthongs in Bernese German (a Swiss German dialect):

  • as in Bier 'beer'
  • as in Füess 'feet'
  • as in Schue 'shoes'
  • as in Stou 'holdup'
  • as in Stau 'stable'
  • as in Staau 'steel'
  • as in Wäut 'world'
  • as in wääut 'elects'
  • as in tschúud 'guilty'

In Italian a vowel combination can be a dittongo (en. diphthong) or a iato (en. hiatus).

  • paùra, faìna are not diphthongs.
  • zaino, fuori, Europa are diphthongs.
  • fuoco, fiume are rising diphthongs.
  • faida, feudo are falling diphthongs.


See also

de:Diphthong eo:Diftongo fr:Diphtongue id:Diftong io:Diftongo nl:Tweeklank pl:Dyftong fi:Diftongi

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