Smoothing (phonetics)

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Smoothing is a phonetic process whereby adjacent vowel sounds are merged into a single sound (possibly a diphthong or monophthong).

The phenomenon is common in some varieties of English, particularly Received Pronunciation, when a diphthong is followed by schwa. For example, the citation form of the word our is /ˈaʊə/, but in speech it is often pronounced as [ɑə] or even as a monophthong [ɑ].

See also[edit]


  • J.C. Wells, Accents of English 1: An Introduction, 1982, Cambridge University Press, p. 238 ff.