The diphthongs or impure vowels are eight. A diphthong represents a sound that consists of a movement or glide from one vowel quality to another. It has been observed that during the glide, the first vowel sound is given more prominence than the sound vowel sound. Thus in pronouncing vowel 13, /ei/ for example, there is more prominence on /e/ than on /i/.

The diphthongs can be categorized into three groups namely;

  1. Front closing diphthongs (/ei, ai, ɔi/)
  2. Back closing diphthongs (/au, əu/)
  3. Centering diphthongs (iə, eə, uə/)

Vowel 13 /ei/: – this sound is produced by starting from the position of /e/ or /ɛ/ and gliding towards the position of /i/. So, the glide result in progressively closing the mouth from the beginning to the end. Examples – day, lady, eight, rake etc.

Vowel 14 /ou/or/əu/: The sound starts somewhere from the central position towards the upper back position. The glide from /o/ to /u/ is easier among Nigerians. Examples – go, know, coat, etc.

Vowel 15 /ai/: This sound is produced with the tongue starting somewhere near the position of /a/ and moving towards the position of /i/. Examples eyes, ice, my, time. Etc

Vowel 16 /au/: This is a sound starting from the position of the /a/ sound and moving towards the /u/ position. Examples: now, how, round, town etc.

Vowel 17 /ɔi/: The position of the tongue is slightly high in the initial part of the glide and then the movement is towards the /i/ position. Examples – boy, oil, soil, etc.

Vowel 18 /iə/: This is the first of the centering vowel i.e those which glide towards the central part of the mouth. The tongue starts in the position of the vowel 2, and there is glade towards the central vowel /iə/. Examples: – here, hear, rear, idea etc.

Vowel 19 /eə/: The tongue starts from the position of the cardinal vowels /e/, and there is a glide towards the central vowels sound. Examples: – bear, fear, scarce, there etc.

Vowel 20 /uə/: The tongue begins the glide from the /u/ position and moves towards the central position for the /ə/ sound. Examples: – Pure, tour, fuel, duel etc

See also:




STRUCTURE | Clauses – Subordinate and Insubordinate

Structure: Affixation: Suffixes

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