do you know your vowels?
Some questions about American English vowels
Read the questions below, and think about them. Write out your answers. Then click to see our answer.
In which of the following words will you find a high front tense vowel? cow, fleet, fit, tray, nope, flea, flat, we
fleet, flea, and we
How many different ways can you represent the sound /ei/ with letters of the alphabet? Give examples using common words.
The short answer is "a lot!" We know of at least eight: way, straight, duvet, entree, grey, break, neighbor, gate. Did we miss any?
Do your best to clearly define a glide.
A glide is a vowel sound that starts in one zone in your mouth and ends in another. For example, the vowel sound in the word "fly" goes from low back to high front.
What's the essential difference between the two mid-central vowels in American English?
One of them (schwa) can only occur in unstressed syllables, while the other may occur in stressed syllables.
How are consonants different from vowels?
For one thing, a consonant is produced by a partial or complete closure at the point of articulation (both your lips come together for a /b/ sound), whereas the stream of air that produces a vowel can be shaped, but not closed off. Additionally, vowels serve as the core of every syllable, unlike consonants.