Difference between revisions of "Triphthong"

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A '''triphthong''' is a long sound which is comprised of three combined [[vowel]] sounds in a single [[syllable]].  
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A '''triphthong''' (/trɪfθɒŋ(g)/) is a [[speech sound]] comprised of three combined [[vowel sound]]s in a single [[syllable]]. Some speakers break triphthongs into two syllables, a [[diphthong]] and a [[schwa]].  Contrast [[monophthong]] and [[diphthong]].
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== Examples ==
 
== Examples ==
*hour
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A dot signals syllable boundary.
*fire
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*player
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*/aʊə/: hour /aʊər/ and also /ˈaʊ.ər/. Compare with power, always /ˈpaʊ.ər/.
*royal
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*/aɪə/: fire /faɪər/ and also /ˈfaɪ.ər/. Compare with liar, always /ˈlaɪ.ər/.
*lower
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*/jʊə/: cure /kjʊər/ and also /ˈkjuː.ər/. Compare with fewer, always /ˈfjuː.ər/.
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The following words are almost always heard as disyllables:
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*/eɪə/: player /ˈpleɪ.ər/ could be pronounced /pleɪər/
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*/ɔɪə/: royal /ˈrɔɪ.əl/ could be pronounced /rɔɪəl/
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*/əʊə/: lower /ˈloʊ.ər/ could be pronounced /loʊər/
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== Rising triphthongs ==
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A rising triphthong begins with a semivowel [j] or [w]. In English rising triphthongs are normally analyzed as sequences of two phonemes. There are many rising triphthongs in English, as /j/ and /w/ can combine with many diphthongs.
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*/jəʊ/: yoga
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*/jɪə/: year
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*/jʊə/: cure
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*/waɪ/: quite
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*/waʊ/: wow
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*/weə/: square
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*/weɪ/: way
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*/wəʊ/: quote
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*/wɪə/: weird
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==Note==
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Linguist [[John Wells]] thinks there are no triphthongs in English, and in all cases there are two syllables.<ref>John Wells's phonetic blog, [http://phonetic-blog.blogspot.com/2009/12/triphthongs-anyone.html triphthongs, anyone?]</ref> This means that the difference between liar /ˈlaɪ.ər/<ref>{{Random House|liar}}</ref> and lyre /laɪər/<ref>{{Random House|lyre}}</ref> does not exist: many people agree that these two words are homophones. Note that Wells considers ''cure'' /kjʊər/  to be a monosyllable, but not a triphthong, because /j/ is a semivowel and not a vowel.
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
<references/>
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<references/>[[category:index]]
  
== See also ==
 
*[[Diphthong]]
 
*[[Monophthong]]
 
  
{{stub}}
 
  
[[Category:Language]]
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[[category:Phonetics]]
[[Category:Phonetics]]
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[[category:Pronunciation]]
[[Category:Definitions]]
 
[[Category:Pronunciation]]
 
[[Category:IPA phonetic symbols]]
 

Latest revision as of 06:04, 13 May 2020

A triphthong (/trɪfθɒŋ(g)/) is a speech sound comprised of three combined vowel sounds in a single syllable. Some speakers break triphthongs into two syllables, a diphthong and a schwa. Contrast monophthong and diphthong.


Examples[edit | edit source]

A dot signals syllable boundary.

  • /aʊə/: hour /aʊər/ and also /ˈaʊ.ər/. Compare with power, always /ˈpaʊ.ər/.
  • /aɪə/: fire /faɪər/ and also /ˈfaɪ.ər/. Compare with liar, always /ˈlaɪ.ər/.
  • /jʊə/: cure /kjʊər/ and also /ˈkjuː.ər/. Compare with fewer, always /ˈfjuː.ər/.

The following words are almost always heard as disyllables:

  • /eɪə/: player /ˈpleɪ.ər/ could be pronounced /pleɪər/
  • /ɔɪə/: royal /ˈrɔɪ.əl/ could be pronounced /rɔɪəl/
  • /əʊə/: lower /ˈloʊ.ər/ could be pronounced /loʊər/

Rising triphthongs[edit | edit source]

A rising triphthong begins with a semivowel [j] or [w]. In English rising triphthongs are normally analyzed as sequences of two phonemes. There are many rising triphthongs in English, as /j/ and /w/ can combine with many diphthongs.

  • /jəʊ/: yoga
  • /jɪə/: year
  • /jʊə/: cure
  • /waɪ/: quite
  • /waʊ/: wow
  • /weə/: square
  • /weɪ/: way
  • /wəʊ/: quote
  • /wɪə/: weird

Note[edit | edit source]

Linguist John Wells thinks there are no triphthongs in English, and in all cases there are two syllables.[1] This means that the difference between liar /ˈlaɪ.ər/[2] and lyre /laɪər/[3] does not exist: many people agree that these two words are homophones. Note that Wells considers cure /kjʊər/ to be a monosyllable, but not a triphthong, because /j/ is a semivowel and not a vowel.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. John Wells's phonetic blog, triphthongs, anyone?
  2. "liar". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.
  3. "lyre". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.