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Consonants

English consonants Recall that vowels are described as open sounds because there is no obstruction to the flow of air as it passes out of the mouth. In contrast, consonants are described as closed sounds. This means that there is some type of obstruction to…

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Comparing Accents

Comparing accents using ‘keywords’ From the foregone discussion of vowels, we see that there are several differences between the realization of vowels in General American (GA) and Standard Southern British English (SSBE). We will highlight a few of these below. First, the vowel…

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Complex Vowels Summary

Complex vowels summary: diphthongs The main diphthongs used in General American (GA) and Standard Southern British English (SSBE) are summarized in Table 2. They are categorized by closing position and diphthongs used exclusively by SSBE are shown in red. no. closing position IPA example…

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Complex Vowels

Complex vowels = configuration change Simple vowels do not change the configuration of the oral cavity whilst the vowel is being produced. There are, however, some vowels that do entail changes to the configuration of the oral cavity during their production. These are known as complex vowels.

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Simple Vowels Summary

Simple vowels chart Figure 12 shows all 12 of the simple vowel sounds used in General American (GA) and Standard Southern British English (SSBE) in relation to the height of the tongue and the position of the tongue elevation in the mouth. We have omitted the…

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Back Vowels

Back vowels explained The largest group of simple vowels is the back vowels. These are shaped with the back of the tongue raised towards the soft palate (velum). There are six back vowels, compared to the four front vowels and two central vowels.

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Central Vowels

Central vowels = intermediate position All central vowels are produced in an intermediate position between front and back vowels, with the body of the tongue raised towards the roof of the mouth in the area where the hard and soft palates fuse. British central vowels…

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Front Vowels

American and British front vowels Figure 8 illustrates the front vowels of General American (GA) and Standard Southern British English (SSBE). Figure 8. American and British front vowels. Front vowels are produced with the front part of the tongue…

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