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Would English [wai] (why), [wei] (way), [wau] (wow), [jei] (yay), and [wou] (woe) be considered triphthongs, or do the semivowels not count? Xyzzyva 02:59, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)
- Phonemically, in English, no. You can show this by putting a word like 'a(n)', which varies depending on which word comes next, before it: 'a way', not 'an way'. In Italian, I believe, they have diphthongs which in English would be the a sequence of semivowel and vowel, but they're considered diphthongs because when you put a word like ‘la’ before it, they become ‘l'’ e.g. l’uo’. Phonetically, I don't know. — Felix the Cassowary 07:46, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Also, if it's generally accepted that they're disyllabic (which I don't think it is), are they really triphthongs at all? I'm going to remove "disyllabic" for now.--JHJ 19:42, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
- I was pretty sure they were disyllabic (as an Australian, which is generally considered essentially phonemically equivalent, I definitely make two syllables of ‘hour’), and that seeing as a phonetic definition of ‘syllable’ is somewhat difficult, a phonetic triphthong is essentially indistinct from a disyllabic sequence. —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 23:23, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
- If they're disyllabic, then I don't think they're triphthongs (and neither does the first paragraph of this article); they're just a sequence of diphthong and monophthong. Wells  says that "some people" analyse them as triphthongs, so there may be some debate about this. Also, see the brief discussion at Talk:Received_Pronunciation#Triphthongs. Personally (though I wouldn't necessarily expect an RP speaker to do the same as me) I distinguish higher and hire, and would consider the former to be two syllables and the latter to be one, but, on the other hand, hour feels like two syllables.--JHJ 17:10, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Triphthongs in Chinese language
One should mention that triphthongs are very imporatant in Standard Chinese (Mandarin):
- "uai" (as in "kuai") - written as "wai" when stand-alone
- "uei" (as in "gui") - written as "wei" when stand-alone, written as "ui" when preceded by a consonant
- "iao" (as in "liao") - written as "yao" when stand-alone
- "iou" (as in "liu") - written as "you" when stand-alone, written as "iu" when preceded by a consonant
- I think it's been added now. However, is it really desirable to analyze the third component of the triphthong in Mandarin as approximants? For now I'll change it to what Standard Mandarin shows. Keith Galveston (talk) 05:12, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
This article is wrong, is there any sourche that proves English to have triphthongs?!
In Catalan, there is feia ('s/he was doing'), creuar ('to cross'), iaia ('granma'), and these are NOT triphthongs or quadriphthongs :S, but disyllabic diphthongs (same as RP English fire, hour, plougher).
Most Romance languages have PROPER and REAL triphthongs, e.g. Portuguese, and Catalan, Spanish, Romanian, Occitan, etc.
I came here to find out about REAL examples of triphthongs and in english, that is crippled writing language, as it doesn't correspond to correct pronouncation, these examples clearly are not triphtongs, as fire seems to me that it has dipthong followed by hidden consonant or hidden vowel which has transitional properties, that would also make it consonant. Hour is much better example, but r ruins all, because there in fact is also hidden e sound in next syllable, which makes 4th vowel e, that is influenced by vanishing r sound, so if you would write correctly hour with correct prononcation and all sounds, it would be houer, where r should be replaced with r influenced e and it also contains 2 syllables, though barely noticeable.
Grr, as a foreign english speaker it is already frustrating enough, that sounds in english does not correspond to what is actually written and also use of r actually makes another frustration, not to mention, that in some languages there are different pronouncations of actual(!!!) r sounds. I can divide fire in 2 syllable(in spoken version), just as easy as liar. To my ear both of the words have similar structure of sounds(in sense - there are 2 syllables), but clearly one is proposed to have tripthong in one? syllable and other don't. Why?
Judging by the definition: a triphthong is a monosyllabic vowel, but saying something really fast(english in my northerner opinion stands out as some northern italian - they actually speak very fast) does not make it one syllable. Putting together 3 or more vowels does not make it triphtong. I can make in my language even 4 or more vowels together which does not make quarthong - not to mention triphtong - simply there would be 2 dipthongs and they follow the same rules as more common use of 3 vowels - dipthongs + vowel(same applies to different order).
In my opinion there should be many examples of tripthongs that would follow some common rules as dipthongs do. And english is declared as true triphtong language among all. So, this is really ironic, that english does not have proper rules, how to distinguish which words have triphtongs. Also there should be some explanation what ancient greeks called triphthongs and are they really in one syllable and would they be classified as such in modern times. At least 2 Germanic examples, that I can read are not tripthongs - they are just combination of diphthongs and vowels. Triphtong could be Germanic meer(more), mae-er, where dipthong ae continues with different e, that is influenced by vanishing r, though this is really not considered as a diphtong case, where diphtongs are made from combinations among basic 5 vowels(a, e, i, o, u) and their variants, but diphtongs are not counted as combinations of combinations of the same vowel so why it is valid in making triphtong?
I mean this is quite a big ground problem in liguistics, as basically language consists of phonemes - vowels and mostly accompanied consonants - also included there are diphtongs. Diphthongs clearly requires different alphabetical representation, because if they are used in language, they are used often, but lack for distinct letters comes from the fact that users already know from experience how to pronounce 2, 3 or even more vowels from written form - also rules and knowledge gives hint which is correct combination and which are diphtongs, so that is actually shady way of skipping introducing some more letters for these sounds, because almoust all written systems does have some flaws, which requires some additional information, that requires translating text to speach - and it creates great joy for kids when someone pronounces words differently than others.
So, if diphtongs are made of combinations of 2 vowels(even similar, but not equal), then there is more or less total count of combinations, that can be used for further clasification. In the case of triphtongs - my question is quite simple - does they really exist? If triphtongs exist, I would really like to have list of monosyllabic triphtongs or at least definition how to construct them. Either that or there should be different definition. Maybe to save triphtongs there should be some addition of diphtongs with vanishing r, but right now at least current examples does not really give proper examples - as most of them are there for completelly different reasons. And really - should ending of vowel that is influenced by vanishing r, really be counted as different vowel? If we count a: e: i: etc. as one wovel, why a:r e:r etc.(where r just notes vanishing r) be distinguished as two different vowels? 18.104.22.168 (talk) 19:03, 22 May 2013 (UTC)