Rachel's English

Unreduced Vowels


I mentioned previously that in an unaccented syllable, a vowel can go by unreduced. And so today I am going to go over some examples. I am going to embed a table on my site that I have gotten from Wikipedia that shows some examples: the vowels and a sample word.

The first, wily. Now the unaccented syllable here is the ee [as in 'she'], but it still remains ee. It is shorter, and also if you will notice, wily, the pitch is lower. That is going to be true in all of these unaccented syllables. This would be true for smiley, happily, etc. Chauvinism. Chau- is the accented syllable. Chauvinism, -ism. Now there are about 1600 words in English that end with 'ism'. It is unaccented, and yet the 'ih' as in 'sit' remains the vowel.


Monday. The 'ay' [as in 'say'] diphthong. Unaccented in all of the days of the week, but remains 'ay', it is not reduced. Again, Monday, you can tell, obviously, there is a change in pitch there. Enlist. 'Eh' as in 'bed'. 'Embed' would be another example. Valet. Again, here the 'aa' as in 'bat' remains 'aa', even though it is in the unaccented syllable. Unknown, unknown. Here it is the first syllable that is unaccented, yet it is still the lower in pitch of the two syllables. ['uh' as in 'butter'] Unknown. Grandma. Grandma, again, the 'ah' as in 'father' goes by unaccented, yet remaining a pure 'ah'.


Neon. Now here it is written with this upside down A, and I am going to disagree, and I am going to say it is again the 'ah' as in 'father'. Neon. Again, unaccented. Outlaw. 'Aw' as in 'law'. It is unaccented, yet it is not reduced. Limo. Limo, short for limousine, same with hippo, short for hippopotamus. ['Oh' as in 'no'] Not reduced. Fulfill. This 'uh' as in 'pull', fulfill, not reduced. Tofu, tofu, the 'oo' as in 'boo', tofu. Again, clearly lower in pitch, but still the pure 'oo' as in 'boo' sound. Discount. 'Ow' as in 'now', discount. Idea, another diphthong: 'ai' as in 'buy'. Idea: 'de' here is the accented syllable, idea. Royale. 'Ale', clearly what is accented here, yet the 'oy' [as in 'toy'] is not reduced. Royale.

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