Phonetics - Unit Three - Lesson No. 17
The concept of diphthongs is somehow similar to double articulation in consonant, in that the articulation of a diphthong starts in a certain place and ends in another one. Diphthongs are sounds which consists of a movement or glide from one vowel to another. A vowel which remains constant and does not glide is called a pure vowel.
Figure(1): Received pronunciation diphthongs
BBC pronunciation has eight diphthongs which are described below:
The starting point of this diphthong is a little closer than /ɪ/ in bit or bin. Example words include /bɪəd, fɪəs/ for beard and fierce respectively.
This diphthong begins with the same vowel sound as the /e/ of get, men. Example words include /keən, skeəs/ for cairn and scarce respectively.
This diphthong has a starting point slightly closer than ʊ in put, pull. Many speakers pronounce this diphthong as ɔː instead. Examples of this diphthong include /mʊəd, tʊə/ for moored and tour respectively.
The starting point is the same as the /e/ of get and men. Examples of this diphthong include /peɪd, peɪn, feɪs/ for paid, pain and face respectively.
This diphthong begins with an open vowel which is between front and back and it is quite similar to the ʌ of the words cut and bun. Examples of this diphthong include /taɪd, taɪm, naɪs/ for tide, time and nice respectively.
The first part of this diphthong has the same quality as ɔː in ought or born. Examples of this diphthong include /vɔɪd, lɔɪn, vɔɪs/ for void, loin and voice respectively.
The vowel position for the beginning of this is the same as for the schwa /ə/. The lips may be slightly rounded in anticipation of the glide towards ʊ, for which there is quite noticeable lip-rounding. Examples of this diphthong include /ləʊd, həʊm, məʊst/ for load, home and most respectively.
This diphthong begins with a vowel similar to aː. Since this is an open vowel, a glide to ʊ would necessitate a large movement. Yet this movement is not completed in English. The lips are slightly rounded. Examples of this diphthong include /laʊd, haʊs/ for loud and house respectively.