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Phonology Written Assugnment

  • Date Submitted: 09/25/2012 05:22 AM
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HOW ARE VOWELS DESCRIBED? EXPLAIN USING THE VOWEL CHART QUADRILATERAL
1.0 Introduction
Most of us would know that a, e i, o, u are vowels. But, what does a vowel actually mean? Merriam Webster (n.d) defines vowel “as one of a class of speech sounds in the articulation of which the oral part of the breath channel is not blocked and is not constricted enough to cause audible friction”. In other words, as mentioned by Roach (2009) vowels are sounds in which there is no obstruction to the flow of air as it passes from the larnyx to the lips. It is articulated when a vioced airstream is shaped using the tongue and the lips to modify the overall shape of the mouth (Kelly, 2000). All of vowels are produced with the vocal cords vibrating, therefore, said to be voiced sounds. There are twelve pure vowels or called as monophtongs in the English language, including 7 short vowels and 5 long vowels. (Koh, 2012).
Koh added, by using the vowel chart quadrilateral, there are four ways used to classify the different characteristic of vowel sounds (also called vowel qualities), which are the height of the tongue, the position of tongue, the shape of lips and finally the length of vowels. In the meantime, vowel chart quadrilateral is a graphic representation that is used to show the characteristic of vowels qualities as stated above in the articulation of the vowels. (English Phonetics : Classifying English Sound)

Figure 1.0   :   The Vowels Chart Quadrilateral
2.0 Height Of Tongue (Vertically : High-Mid-Low)

Figure 2.0 : The Height Of Tongue
(From : The Organ Of Speech)
The first matter in articulating vowels to consider is the height of the tongue or is called as the shape of tongue by Roach (2009). According to Roach (2009), shape of the tongue is the vertical distance between the upper surface of the tongue and the palate. However, Baskaran (2005) mentioned it as “how close to the palate or how low in the lower jaw...

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