Talk:Vowel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Former featured article Vowel is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on May 29, 2004.
Version 0.5      (Rated start-Class)
Peer review This Langlit article has been selected for Version 0.5 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia. It has been rated start-Class on the assessment scale.
WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles that are spoken on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 
WikiProject Linguistics / Phonetics  (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the Phonetics Task Force.
 

Written vowels in writing systems[edit]

I would like to remove the section Vowel#Written vowels in writing systems as it can easily spin out of control. We don't need a list of every language on the planet with an alphabetic writing system and the letters it uses to show vowels. —Angr 18:12, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The section's essentially pointless. garik 17:27, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
No one objected in the past month, so I finally got around to being bold and removing it. —Angr 11:19, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

History of vowels[edit]

Are there any articles in Wiki that cite about when was the 'first use of vowels in writing' exist? I need help. TY! Ü Zxyggrhyn 13:44, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Did you check History of writing? —Angr 17:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Unsourced section removed[edit]

I'm removing the section on Vowel systems since it has been tagged as unsourced since November. That's bad in any article, but especially bad in a featured article! If anyone can find and cite sources for it, feel free to re-add it. —Angr 16:22, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Spoken File[edit]

It's clear that the speaker in the audio version of this page is not a native speaker (Italian in the file's info). I have to really pay attention to what he says and it's very, very frustrating to try and decipher what he means when he mispronounces a word. How would I go about making a recording to replace this one? ·:RedAugust 13:23, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

This appears to be a different file since it has only single sounds rather than words, but to my American ear at least the I and ɨ, which are both American phonemes do not sound like the way these are pronounced in English. They sound like they have umlauts in them and/or are diphthongs. I think if I heard them pronounced they way they are here but in words, I would not know what the words were unless the rest of the phonemes told me. The idea of such a talking chart is great, but get someone pronouncing the sounds better and not all sounding with the same pronounced accent.202.179.16.88 (talk) 05:49, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Where Y is the vowel[edit]

why isn't there anything mentioned about the letter 'y' being a vowel or a sub-vowel? There are some words without conventional vowels. Here: Sky, spy, cry, my, why, shy, rhythm, etc. So can we consider 'y' as a vowel or sub-vowel? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.140.142.50 (talk) 12:36, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

The article says, "In the case of English, the five primary vowel letters can represent a variety of vowel sounds, while the letter Y can represent both vowels and a consonant." In the words you mention, y is standing for a vowel sound. In other words, like yellow and youth, it stands for a consonant sound. —Angr/talk 19:15, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

The Letter Y is not considered a vowel AT ALL in the UK, regardless of what semiotic or semantic arguments may be made for it. The status of Y in different English-speaking countries is an interesting issue and I was disappointed that it was not addressed here. The most basic thing to be said about vowels is how many of them there actually are. 143.252.80.100 (talk) 17:48, 28 November 2007 (UTC)Mullone

I don't quite understand what you mean. Are you saying that in UK "gym" is considered as having no vowel sounds? Or no vowel letters? Keith Galveston (talk) 14:39, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
It does not matter whether anyone "considers" this or that letter a vowel nor not. What matters is what makes sense from a linguistic point of view. A could surely declare - say - the letter Q to be a vowel. But that would make no linguistic sense. It wouldn't change anything about the letter Q, or the sound(s) it typically represents. It would just leave me with a classification of the letters in the English version of the Latin alphabet that makes no sense linguistically. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 1700-talet (talkcontribs) 20:47, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

The debate here about the Letter Y being a vowel or not and whether it should of been mentioned a vowel or a sub vowel I believe is important to discuss. Although the comment was brought up that the letter y is not considered a vowel at all in the UK, it is important to realize that the status is different in other languages and it has a controversial interpretation in English languages as well. It should be addressed for what it is, stating the many interpretations of specific languages or groups/families of languages. I do not agree with the letter y being left out completely for this is vital information the reader should be aware of. Examples should also follow the explanation. Angieghirra (talk) 18:46, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

New Zealand and Australia have totally different vowels[edit]

Australian English and New Zealand English are listed as having the same vowels on this page. Which would have any Australian rolling on the floor with laughter. New Zealand English is considered a joke in Australia due to their seemingly (to an Australian) random swapping of vowel sounds. Carl Kenner 05:45, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I think the entire "Pronunciation in English" section is dumb and should be removed. —Angr 06:34, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I was born and raised in a different part of the world, but have lived in both countries. There's certainly a difference (and there are regional differences within both countries too), but the similarities are far greater than the differences.-gadfium 07:26, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Othe Vowels modernly called Consenants[edit]

I'm talking about the Vowel sound of H,R, and W. S is even kind of a 'cosenant/vowel." These first three should be in their own catagory of vowels, because they have no consenant sound whatsoever. What do you think? Maybe we should start a real modern movement right here on Wikipedia? Anyways, have a nice day. ------ Bill Mclemore —Preceding unsigned comment added by KillKill822 (talkcontribs) 01:37, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, Wikipedia isn't the place for starting movements, but you're right about H, R, and W. H, although generally classified as a consonant because of how it behaves, is phonetically speaking just a voiceless vowel. R (in English at any rate) and W are approximants with so little constriction they could qualify as semivowels. I think S is just a consonant, though. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 07:28, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that Bill is referring to the fact that you can make word (even a sentence) out of a long s and no other sounds. Although you can do this with any of the fricatives and continuants in English (there are a lot of people in California named Ng), it may be most common with sibilants. Some languages have many words with such consonants standing in for vowels. — Solo Owl (talk) 16:57, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Pronunciation in English[edit]

Inaccurate, unclear, unsourced, confusing, OR-prone, and not that important anyhow. AnGr too thinks it should be removed so, absent a timely objection, I'm gonna be bold and take the Del key to it. Jack(Lumber) 16:26, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I'll second the deletion proposal. The whole thing belongs to a different page in the first place: [English phonolgy] or IPA chart for English. 石川 (talk) 02:03, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Long Vowels[edit]

_ _ IMO one inherent difficulty of this topic is that every native speaker has a strong gut knowledge of vowels of the corresponding language, but (at least in English) for most of them little has been done to help them connect the gut knowledge with formal analysis, except in the service of orthography.
_ _ In English, for most native speakers, the main focus of that analytical capability is how to distinguish, in reading and spelling, the words with long and short vowels; this especially appears in the "silent E makes the preceding vowel long" rule or rule-of-thumb. In contrast to that, i think most people will simply say that the a sounds in cat and car are "short", without awareness of how they differ. (In my experience, most Americans use the a of cat in "Hallelujah", and don't really notice what's different when they hear it pronounced with the car-style a. (I consider myself relatively well-informed in using what i think of as the singer's pronunciation, but i'm still ignorant enough to wonder which of those two short a sounds is a broad a, or whether that is something foreign to the mid-western accent Americans usually hear on the national news.)
_ _ Anyway, my point is that the entirety of the article is written at fairly sophisticated level. Has any thot been given to a new section, between the lead and the current "Articulation" section, that would help ease typical readers into the subject? One approach would be a very short section focusing on vowels that are easy to specify in English -- maybe just a couple of sentences, explicitly saying "for example", and a lk to Vowel sounds in English, with a section on each of the major dialects.
_ _ I don't intend to propose anything well thot thru with this note, but maybe to stimulate consideration of the possibility of lowering the barriers to interest in the existing content of the accompanying article.
--Jerzyt 03:27, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

vocoids[edit]

We have, "The American linguist Kenneth Pike suggested the terms 'vocoid' for a phonetic vowel and 'vowel' for a phonological vowel, so using this terminology, [j] and [w] are classified as vocoids but not vowels."

Is the difference really ±stricture vs. ±syllabic? For those who distinguish semivowels from approximants, [j] and [w] should be contoids as well as consonants, correct? And for this usage, the /l/ in English table would count as a vowel and a contoid, but not a consonant. kwami (talk) 06:27, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Deleted comments about languages not distinguishing all V heights or backness. English does. Or was s.t. meant by those claims? kwami (talk) 14:54, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Most phonological theories don't permit a five-way backness distinction or a seven-way height distinction. Rather, the contrast between, for example, /i/ and /I/ is in tenseness vs. laxness, but otherwise both are [+high] and [–back] (or [+front]). Still, I think we're better off not trying to describe in this article how many levels of backness and height can be distinguished, since that gets us into the realm of theory-specific phonological argumentation instead of just-the-facts-please-ma'am phonetics. —Angr 19:20, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I think Ladefoged found five height levels in vowels which are distinguished by nothing else in some dialect of Swiss. This article got me thinking, though. If we take English height to not be distinctive because there are other correlates, then it follows that Spanish has no backness distinction, since all five vowels can be specified in terms of height and rounding. That seems rather out of touch with reality. kwami (talk) 19:29, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Or more likely, no roundness distinction since it's predictable from height and backness (all [+back, -low] vowels are also [+round]). Or look at Irish phonology where most theoretical phonologists have said the short vowels have no backness distinction (a position I used to believe but no longer do). These sorts of assumptions of underspecification are standard in phonological theory. —Angr 19:33, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Most frequent vowels?[edit]

Would it be possible to include which vowels are the most frequently used in human speech? It seems like the five vowels of Spanish [a, e, i, o, u] are among the most common, but which others? RobertM525 (talk) 08:39, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

I think that a frequent and important vowel is the rhotic vowels. Under the subheading "rhotic vowels", there is a shortage of information. The content is only one line long. I think that this needs to be expanded. It states that it is found in American English and a "few other languages". I think that they should note the other kinds of languages/ specific languages that it is found in. We could also include where it originated from and examples of these "R-coloured vowels." I do like however that they linked the article "R-coloured vowels" to the subheading section. Angieghirra (talk) 17:59, 18 September 2014 (UTC)


I do agree with the other person's suggestion on the fact that the section of rhotic vowels could possibly be expanded a little bit more since it appears quite often in some other languages, like Canadian French and Mandarin. Although there's a link that connects to furthermore information about "R-coloured vowels", i think it would be easier to understand if theres a little description on how its been used in English with an example, just to give a clear start on it. Overall, the whole article is really helpful. Tinalin728 (talk) 04:45, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

origin of the the vocalic "W" in English[edit]

I'm skeptical of the explanation which links the teaching of "w" as a vowel to Welsh loan words such as "cwm".

I have no issue either with "w" as a vowel or with the pronunciation of Welsh. I just find it highly unlikely that a redefinition of vowels and consonants in English would occur on the basis of a few fairly obscure loan words.

My understanding is that "w" is considered a vowel in ordinary English words when it forms part of a dipthong - e.g., the "ow" combination in "how now, brown cow." I believe that this is the more common (and likely) explanation for its inclusion as a part-time vowel in some systems of teaching English phonics.

Can someone either provide an authoritative reference for the loan word explanation, or else remove/change it?

24.62.163.33 (talk) 10:02, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

To be fair, it doesn't really make sense to say that any letter of the alphabet is a vowel or a consonant; they're letters, some of which always represent vowels, some of which always represent consonants, and some of which can represent either, depending on the word. It's easy to see why people refer to letters as vowels and consonants, but this is precisely the kind of thing that makes doing so unhelpful. So it doesn't really make much sense either to talk about a redefinition of vowels or consonants in English. It just happens that teachers give children a list of letters that are used to represent vowels in English (and call these vowels), and sometimes add y and w, which can represent vowels on some occasions. All that's redefined is teachers' understandable but not entirely accurate use of the word vowel, which shifts from meaning "letters that always represent vowels" to "letters that at least sometimes represent vowels".
But I agree that it's rather unsatisfactory to say that W is used to represent vowels in English, giving only one rare loanword as an example. Its use to represent the second part of a diphthong is considerably more notable. I'll change the article. I also agree that some sort of source about whether or not most teachers call W a vowel, and why, would be useful. garik (talk) 10:41, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Garik. And yes, of course it's merely the way we (or a certain group of us) talk about vowels (and consonants) that's being redefined, but that's the sense in which I was using the term "redefinition" - i.e., a change in the formalized distinctions made about them at certain levels, a recategorization within a certain system of instruction (in this case elementary-level phonics). As a college veteran of Latin, Greek, and even a bit of Hittite, I'd have to agree that any such basic system is way oversimplified and even counterproductive, but then, so is much of what we teach at this level - a dubious compromise of material that's really too abstract for the eight-year-olds it's taught to while at the same time not abstract enough to actually describe the phenomenon. Welcome to American education! :) (And thanks again!) 24.62.163.33 (talk) 15:46, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Article milestones[edit]

This Former featured articles lost it status as Featured article in November 2008 after a Fetured Articale review. It can regain Featured article status if the concerns highlighted by the review are addressed. See Wikipedia:Featured_article_review/archive/November_2008#Vowel. laurens (talk) 08:02, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Ancient Greek, number of vowels etc[edit]

These two sentences have been removed and later restored (both actions were done without a comment) into the article: "Use of more vowels improve the speed of talk and thinking, but human ear cannot distinguish similar vowels. Old Greeks have more vowels than many other use languages at their time."

First, I changed it to remove some of what I judged obvious errors or inconsistencies, so it's currently: "Use of more vowels improves the speed of talking, but the human ear cannot distinguish similar vowels. Ancient Greek has more vowels than many other languages of the time."

I still see several problems with it even after this change, however.

  1. That "the human ear cannot distinguish similar vowels" might be true... for some values of "similar". It's certainly false for most reasonable values, since the International Phonetic Alphabet is evidence that several languages do make phonemic distinctions between very close vowel qualities.
  2. That "use of more vowels improves the speed of talking" might seem reasonable (more "short" words since you have more syllables at your disposal), but it ignores the amount of syllables that are allowed by consonant-related phonotactics, and it doesn't account for the possibility (for instance) that more vowels would cause speakers to emit slower utterances, to minimize ambiguity.
  3. That "Ancient Greek had more vowels than many other languages of the time" also seems very dubious. For a start, we know extremely little about the phonetics of very many "languages of the time", and Ancient Greek doesn't seem to have such a particularly large vowel repertoir, to begin with.

Currently, those two sentences are "backed up" by this link. It is, however, a blog posting in Chinese; the authorship is not clear; and it doesn't "look" like a reliable source.

Not to mention that it appears to make some very bold statements (I have to rely on Google Translate, as I do not speak Chinese): "[...] before the evolution of Chinese is the world's most advanced language", "Chinese is the only language used in the computer age, the most suitable for voice control, rather than by hand", "Evidence of a history to explain the 'mystery': why the ancient Greeks even smarter than others". These and many more statements make this source even more and more dubious.

I will remove these sentence (and the reference) shortly unless a much better source is provided.

LjL (talk) 23:55, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the removal. The idea that the number of vowel phonemes in a language can correlate with the "speed of thinking", or even the speed of talking, is simply nonsense. +Angr 07:05, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Glad to see this bit of bigotry excised. Especially since American English dialects illustrate the opposite. In drawled Southern American, the words Mary, merry, and marry are pronounced the same. (Just last month I saw "Marry Christmas mix" and "Mary Christmas mix" on home-burned CDs.) In the northeast dialects, spoken much faster than Southern, these vowels are always distinguished, with no problem in comprehension or thinking. — Solo Owl (talk) 17:21, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Hard and soft vowels[edit]

Where do I find information on hard and soft vowels, and their grammatical implications? LarRan (talk) 11:07, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I've only ever heard of "hard" and "soft" vowels with reference to the vowel letters of the Russian alphabet. Is that what you're talking about? +Angr 11:27, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Soft vowels could "soften" the preceding consonant, i.e. "gee" is pronounced "jee". "Go" isn't pronounced like "Joe", because o is a hard vowel. LarRan (talk) 13:13, 4 August 2009 (UTC) This is a common feature in many languages, I know for sure that it's found in English, Swedish, French, German and Italian. LarRan (talk) 07:16, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Okay, both things being discussed here may be called palatalization. Basically what happens is that front vowels tend to cause adjacent consonants to be pronounced in a more fronted way. This may, as in Russian, lead to phonemic palatalization, or as in English it may be important mostly from a historical perspective only. Mo-Al (talk) 07:27, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. LarRan (talk) 08:24, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Glottis??[edit]

A vowel is a sound with ... no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis.

Wouldn't that imply thata glottal stop is a vowel? should the definition not be changed to be at any point above or including the glottis?. Grover cleveland (talk) 08:33, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the comment above. The definition of the glottis being "A vowel is a sound with... no buildup of air pressure at any point above the glottis" is implying that the glottal stop is in fact a vowel. The suggestion that was contemplating being about changing the phrase to "at any point above or including the glottis?" would be an improvement to this issue. Angieghirra (talk) 18:34, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Height, odd sentence[edit]

I took the following out of the Height section: "The vowels are 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u'. Every word has to have a vowel in it to make it a proper word. However in words such as, sky and by, the letter 'y' takes the place of a vowel."

I think someone (probably young ;-) was trying to be helpful? (the information is covered later in writing systems) Robert Ullmann (talk) 10:16, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

A Vowel Conundrum: Abbreviations[edit]

An interesting point I'd like to contribute here is that Abbreviations, even tough the first letter that they begin with is sometimes NOT a Vowel, SOMETIMES need to be said with a Vowel.

  • F when not used as a Vowel: "That is a Fighter Plane."
  • F when used as a Vowel: "That is an FN P90 Sub Machine Gun."
  • N when not used as a Vowel: "That is a Navy Ship."
  • N when used as a Vowel: That is an NKVD Unit."
  • S when not used as a Vowel: "That is a Surfer."
  • S when used as a Vowel: "That is an S.O.G. Unit."

--Arima (talk) 06:53, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

The Great Vowel Shift[edit]

Under the "See Also" section, I have added a link to the article on the Great Vowel Shift. There was an early post on this discussion page asking for information on the history of vowel usage and I believe that this link may be beneficial to people looking for this information.

Also, I think that a section on this topic added to the article itself may be useful as well.

Jenga650 (talk) 01:20, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

I got bold and added a subsection on vowel shifts. It is sourced by reference to the article Great Vowel Shift. The unsourced claim at the end of the first paragraph is, I believe, common knowledge which needs no source, under Wikipedia guidelines. The last paragraph is unsourced because it is a simple logical deduction and extrapolation from the first paragraph. I thought of putting in a second paragraph on vowel shifts in other languages, but I do not have the knowledge or sources to make a general statement; perhaps someone can. (2 reasons for discussing the English Great Vowel Shift here: α, This is an English encyclopedia; β, hundreds of millions of people have been inconvenienced by the effects on learning to read English.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eall Ân Ûle (talkcontribs) 18:30, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

I believe the link to the article on the Great Vowel Shift was necessary so that the reader can come to terms with the historical aspect of vowel history, so good job inserting that! I don't think that a second paragraph on vowel shifts in other languages is necessary. Just stating that this does occur in other contexts and listing an example would be just enough to get the point across. Another entire paragraph related to another language would probably be too excessive.Angieghirra (talk) 18:27, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Vowel height[edit]

According to the wikipedia article on the Kensiu language this language contrasts true mid with open-mid and close-mid vowels without differences in other parameters such as backness or roundedness, so I added this information to the vowel height section which had previously said that no language is known to make this contrast. — Preceding unsigned comment added by John Stevens 20 (talkcontribs) 23:52, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Cool.
Such claims (either way) are difficult to justify, since we're dealing with a continuum. It's more straightforward to say how many heights are distinguished. But in this case it looks like they've made a good effort re. cardinal vowels. — kwami (talk) 01:53, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

the team appeared weak and unea\\ before the people[edit]

the team appeared weak and uneasy before the people — Preceding unsigned comment added by 223.25.25.194 (talk) 03:19, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Number of Swedish vowel sounds[edit]

It seems to me that the article gives the wrong number of vowel sounds in Swedish. There are, at least in the major dialects, 23 vowel sounds (12 long and 11 short), as exemplified by the following list of words.

long


mat fan rep fin rot sur syn låt lät där lön mör

short


att ett in fort ull lott knytt lätt ärt mörk möss

PK

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.82.85.33 (talk) 00:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Vague/General Statements[edit]

It appears that the use of the word "some" in "some languages have vertical vowel systems in which..." is inappropriate because the statement is too general. If the statement was changed by removing "some" to a certain type/specific language, the statement would be factual and specific making it more appropriate.Angieghirra (talk) 07:37, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Acoustics Section[edit]

Does anyone else agree that the acoustics section is a little longer than it should be and a bit wordy in terms of getting the point across about the formants? I do like the extensive use of wikipedia linking that started off the section. The words formants resonances spectrogram and resonant cavity were all linked just in the first 2-3 sentences of the section which I believe needed to be done to give the reader a full understanding of what was being discussed. I would however add one more case of linking in the word acoustics in the opening sentence of the section that iterated "The acoustics of vowels are very well understood. This would clarify any confusion of the branch of linguistics that what was about to be discussed right off the bat. Angieghirra (talk) 18:40, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Wiki linked word addition[edit]

I think that adding a wiki link to the words nasality and phonation would be beneficial. The are found in the last sentence of the subheading "Articulation". Because these words aren't wiki linked, and they aren't explained in earlier text, this may bring up confusion to the reader in a number of ways. Does anyone else think that linking these two words would be beneficial? Angieghirra (talk) 17:48, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

I think the words acoustic and articulatory found under the sub heading height should also be wiki linked. Angieghirra (talk) 17:54, 18 September 2014 (UTC)