Chapter 3 Vowel Contrasts

Vowel Contrasts 母音的對比

Sets of Vowels in a Language 語言中的母音組

In English, each of the vowel letters represents two sounds, one when it’s by itself, and another when it’s accompanied by a silent ‘e’. In the book, a vowel is any sound occurring in the middle of a syllable, provided that it is produced without any kind of obstruction of the outgoing breath. Sounds that have some obstruction to the breath stream, such as the bringing of the lips together, are consonants.

Every language has a number of vowels that contrast with one another so that they make different words.






English Vowels 英語母音

l          BBC English

The form of English used by national newscasters in Britain. There are 20 distinct vowels in BBC English.

l          General American English

The form of English used in the USA and Canada. There are 14 or 15 different vowels in General American English.


一般會將英語發音分為兩大類: 英式發音美式發音

l          英式英語通常使用於英國特別指於英國境內的國家電視頻道所使用的發音英式英語有二十個不同的母音

l          美式英語通常指使用於美國及加拿大境內的英語。美式英語約莫有十四到十五個不同的母音。


Key points 重要觀念

l          Diphthongs are sounds that have a change in vowel quality during the course of the syllable.

l          In British English, it was fashionable to change the consonant r into a vowel, when it occurred at the end of a word or before another consonant.  As a result BBC English has some new vowels where General American English still has a vowel followed by r or an r-colored vowel.

l          雙母音是指在音節中母音的特性有了改變

l          在英式英文中當子音r出現於字尾或出現在另一個子音之前r習慣轉換成另一個母音。因此,比起美式英語來說,英式英語會多出幾個母音。



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