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Thread: Diphthongs

  1. #1
    Anne59 is offline Member
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    Default Diphthongs

    Hi experts,

    How do you know when to use which pronunciation for ei?

    heir & receipt

    Also for ea (3 different sounds)

    great & meat & dead

    For ai

    rain & said

    For oo

    boot & flood

    Iím sure there are probably more but I just havenít noticed them yet.

    Is there a rule for these?



  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diphthongs

    Hi,
    Sorry I don't have any easy rules. I just thought I'd point out that the term 'diphthong' is used for the sounds, not the spelling. So there is no diphthong in receipt but there is in heir* /ɛə/; none in meat & dead but /eɪ/ in great*, etc.

    * AusE, illustrative only.

  3. #3
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    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Diphthongs

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Hi,
    Sorry I don't have any easy rules. I just thought I'd point out that the term 'diphthong' is used for the sounds, not the spelling. So there is no diphthong in receipt but there is in heir* /ɛə/; none in meat & dead but /eɪ/ in great*, etc.

    * AusE, illustrative only.

    Raymott's comment is worth repeating because the vowel sounds often vary considerably between different variants of English. Speakers of some variants hear diphthongs in the vowels said by speakers of other variants who think that they are not using diphthongs at all. Australians and NZers get this sort of comment often, and say this sort of thing often about each other's English, as well.

  4. #4
    doogleface is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Diphthongs

    Unfortunately many words look like they would have the same pronunciations but do not.

    My favorite example is:
    through (throo)
    trough (troff)
    tough (tuff)

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diphthongs

    Quote Originally Posted by doogleface View Post
    Unfortunately many words look like they would have the same pronunciations but do not.

    My favorite example is:
    through (throo)
    trough (troff)
    tough (tuff)
    add:
    though (tho)
    bough (bow)
    thought (thort)
    Scarborough ('scarbrə)

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