The Letter W as a Vowel?
A semivowel or glide, also known as a non-syllabic vocoid, is a sound that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary, rather than as the nucleus of a syllable. Examples of semivowels in English are the consonants y and w, in yes and west.
Also, in words like “low” and “bow,” one can make a good case that the letter w represents a vowel. Both of these words end with one or another of the diphthongs of modern English. In each case, the second part of the diphthong is represented by w.
The letter Y
The letter Y can function as a vowel or as a consonant.
As a vowel, Y has the vowel sounds [i], [ai].
As a consonant, Y has the consonant sound [y] (i.e., a semivowel sound), usually at the beginning of the word and only in the syllable before a vowel.
[y]: yard, year, yes, yet, yield, you.
[i]: any, city, carry, funny, mystery, marry
[ai]: my, cry, rely, signify, nylon, type;
A diphthong is one indivisible vowel sound that consists of two parts. The first part is the main strong component (the nucleus); the second part is short and weak (the glide). A diphthong is always stressed on its first component: [au], [ou]. A diphthong forms one syllable. American English usually list five diphthongs: [ei], [ai], [au], [oi], [ou].
The sound [o] is short in British English. In the same words in American English, the sound [o] is a long sound colored as [a:]. This sound is often listed as [a:] in American materials for ESL students. In some words, there are two variants of pronunciation in AmE: [o:] or [o].
[o]: lot, rock, rob, bother, bottle, college, comment, document, modern, popular, respond, John, Tom;
[o:] or [o]: gone, coffee, office, borrow, orange, sorry, loss, lost, want, wash, water.
You can download a copy of my Vowels Chapter which has all the Key words for Long and Short Vowels.
Vowels Sounds, Long, Short, Other and Schwa, is excerpted from my book, American English - Ready Set Go. This 5 Part Series written in simple easy to understand English will give you a good foundation in understanding American English vowel sounds.
So, stay tuned to Mentor Josephan's, Vowels Sounds, Long, Short, Other, and Schwa.
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