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  1. Member
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    #1

    pronunciations of O and I

    Is it correct to say that the pronunciation of O as the 15th letter of the English alphabet starts with a vowel sound the same as the sound of 'aw' as in word law? And, the pronunciation of I as the 9th letter of the English alphabet starts with a vowel sound the same as the sound of 'a' as in word father? If not, what sound does each of them start with? Thank you.

    I would like to put my question a second way: Does a person learn to pronounce two additional vowel sounds when he learns to pronounce the alphabet letter O? And, if yes, what are the two vowel sounds? The same way is with the alphabet letter I. I mean in received "standard", not regional, UK and USA English pronunciation. Thank you.
    Last edited by TaiwanPofLee; 06-Apr-2015 at 03:38. Reason: Addition of 2nd para.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    The letter O starts with an o sound and ends with an oo sound. The letter I starts with an ah sound and ends with an ee sound.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    I disagree. The long O starts with an O sound and ends with an O sound. The same is true for I.

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    #4

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I disagree. The long O starts with an O sound and ends with an O sound. The same is true for I.
    The pronunciation of the ninth and fifteenth letters of the alphabet, I and O, are diphthongs. That means that they glide from one quality to another. That's just the way it is.

    To say that they each start and end with the same sound amounts to calling them pure vowels, which they are not. So it's back to the same old debate. I am incapable of pronouncing them as pure vowels. For our edification, why don't you post an audio file of you pronouncing these letters?

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    #5

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    I quote the following two paragraphs on English diphthongs by Romeo Mlinar (2012)for reference:

    A diphthong is defined by Jones as “a sound made by gliding from one vowel to another … represented phonetically by sequence of two letters” (Pronunciation 22). A sound realised as a diphthong marks “a change from one vowel quality to another, and the limits of the change are roughly indicated by the two vowel symbols” (O’Connor, Phonetics 155). It is important to note that even though a diphthong is “… phonetically a vowel glide or a sequence of two vowel segments [it] … functions as a single phoneme” (220).

    The first element in RP diphthongs is usually [ɪ, e, a, ʊ, ə], while the second is [ɪ, ʊ, ə] (Gimson, Introduction 126). However, one of the characteristics of diphthongs is great regional variety (not
    discussed here).

    (For Mlinar's full text, see http://www.languagebits.com/phonetic...sh-diphthongs/)

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    In my opinion, I don't hear a diphthong in those letters, nor do I say a diphthong. Obviously some people disagree.

  7. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    In my opinion, I don't hear a diphthong in those letters, nor do I say a diphthong. Obviously some people disagree.

    The letter O is pronounced [əu].

  8. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    Yup, I hear them as dipthongs. Now excuse me while I take a dip in my thongs!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #9

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    The letter O starts with an o sound and ends with an oo sound. The letter I starts with an ah sound and ends with an ee sound.
    Thank you, Charlie. But o, oo, ah, and ee sounds as in what words?

  10. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: pronunciations of O and I

    Quote Originally Posted by TaiwanPofLee View Post
    Thank you, Charlie. But o, oo, ah, and ee sounds as in what words?
    o: cold
    oo: noon
    ah: arm
    ee: see
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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