IPA in AWE - vowels

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For a note on how AWE organizes its group of articles on vowels, basically by aspects of sound and of writing, see category:vowels.

This page lists the system of phonetic transcription of vowels to which AWE aspires. (See Transcribing English vowels for an account of some of the difficulties in the orthodox use of the IPA.) Because AWE's material is drawn from different sources, such as LPD and OED, usage in our pages is not consistent; but this page contains a list of the ways in which AWE hopes to standardize. It should be remembered that the symbols here are broad phonemic generalizations: the precise (narrow phonetic) realization of any sound by any individual may in reality be very different.

IPA symbol As in English word
in British RP realization
Some variants Notes
/ɑː/ 'father', 'half', 'laugh' a (F & R) F & R use /a/ as showing US realization, where 'calm' and 'common' have the same vowel
/æ/ 'cap', 'mat', 'lamb'
/ɒː/ 'got', 'off, 'cough'
/ɔː/ 'all', 'caught', 'ought' Some writers use ɒː AWE uses 'open o' for this, as it is close to the first element in in /ɔɪ/
/eɪ/ 'eight', 'ate', 'say' F & R treat as monophthong e A rising diphthong
/aɪ/ 'light', 'bite', 'why' A rising diphthong
/aɪə/ 'fire, 'liar', 'choir' A triphthong, sometimes realized as /ɑː/ in marked RP where 'tire' sounds like 'tar' (& 'tower')
/aÊŠ/ 'how', 'out' A falling diphthong; F & R hear it as 'r- coloured' monophthong
/aʊə/ 'our', 'tower' A triphthong, sometimes realized as /ɑː/ in marked RP where 'tower' sounds like 'tar' (& 'tire')
/É›/ 'get', 'better', 'fetch' e in Gimson
/e/ Not an English monophthong; found in foreign pronunciations like café
/ɜː/ 'bird', 'worm', 'hurt', 'her' ʌ + r (F & R)
/É™/ 'about', 'visitor', 'another' the schwa, the least determinate vowel sound in English
(Oddly, the vowel in two articles: the unstressed pronunciations of 'the' and 'a')
/eÉ™/ 'care', 'fair', 'thee' e + r A falling diphthong in RP; F & R hear it as 'r- coloured'
/ɪ/ 'sit', 'him', 'kick', 'bin'
/iː/ 'mean', 'feet', 'been'
/i/ 'very', 'create' the short i is mostly used for terminal syllables, notably with the adverbial suffix '-ly'
/iːə/ 'near', 'pier', 'beer' i + r A falling diphthong in RP; F & R hear it as 'r- coloured'
/o/ Not an English monophthong; found in foreign pronunciations like bureau
/əʊ/ 'go', 'toe', 'note', 'coat' oʊ, o AWE prefers əʊ as it is distinct from US oʊ, as used by F & R
/É’/ 'got', 'lot', 'what' a É’
/ɔɪ/ 'boy', joint', 'noise', 'voice' A rising diphthong
/ÊŠ/ 'good', 'could', 'stood', 'book'
/ʌ/ 'up, 'shut', 'numb', 'come' This sound is a marker of difference between RP (southern) and northern English accents, who realize it as /u/
/uː/ 'rude', 'boot',
/juː/ 'you', 'use', 'beauty' AWE regards this combination of semivowel /j/' and /uː/ as a 'semi-diphthong'
It is usually analyzed as consonant /j/ + vowel /uː/
/uÉ™/ 'poor', 'tour', 'jury' 'u + r' A falling diphthong in RP; F & R hear it as 'r- coloured'
/juÉ™/ 'your', 'compute', 'pure' AWE treats this as a 'semi-triphthong'
It is usually analyzed as consonant /j/ + diphthong /uːə/
See also IPA in AWE - consonants.