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Re: triphtong

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Saturday, June 25, 2005, 3:33
Joe wrote:
> # 1 wrote: > >> In my dictionnary (a French dictionnary), at the word "triphtong" >> (triphtongue) it says the normal stuff: a vowel that changes two times >> but they give as example the english word "fire" >> >> Does fire contain a triphong? probably something like /6i@/? >> >> Before reading this, I thought that fire were /f6j@`/ and that English >> didn't contain triphtongs >> >> But it is a French dictionnary from France so I can't be sure about >> their English knowledge >> >> Might someone tell me? > > > > It's a triphthong in my British dialect. [fAi@]. In American English, > I believe it's more like [fAjr=]. Also, see 'hour' [aU@], IME.
That sounds about right, but I think the typical American "long i" is more like [AI] or [aI]. In my variety of American English (mainly Michigan-based with idiosyncrasies), words like "fire" have the same vowel as words like "fight" (mainly words with voiceless stops at the end of a syllable, with a couple of odd exceptions like "tiger" and "spider"), which is shortened and raised (more like [6I]). For me, "hire" ["h6I.r\=] and "higher" ["hAI.r\=] form a minimal pair, and "hour" ["6U.r\=] rhymes with "tower" ["t6U.r\=]. All of these words feel disyllabic to me (unlike "lair" ["lE:\r\], which contrasts with disyllabic "layer" ["leI.r\=]). But as far as whether English contains triphthongs, it depends on the variety of English and the definition of triphthongs. A word like "few" might be phonemicized as /fjuw/; is that /juw/ a triphthong? It does seem to me that in my pronunciation it's something like ["fj1u] (a slight exaggeration, but more that than anything like ["fju:], which sounds like a foreign accent). A better illustration of triphthongs would probably be something like Thai, which I believe has things like [uaj] and [1aj], but English "fire" is fine if the editors of the dictionary were thinking of the British variety. Strangely, I can't seem to come up with a solid example from my conlangs, but I'm pretty certain one of them has a word "rinnaoj" (where the "aoj" is a single syllable). This may have been Lyzantura, which isn't well documented. Oh wait, Kisuna seems to have numerous examples of triphthongs, such as "kaiu" (exist) and "niau" (easy). But it's not clear whether I intended them to be monosyllabic....