English to children with transcription

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Add the power of Cambridge Dictionary to your website using our free search box widgets. Browse our dictionary apps today and ensure you are never again lost for words. This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Look up diphthong in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Diphthongs contrast with monophthongs, where the tongue or other speech organs do not move and the syllable contains only a single vowel sound. Where two adjacent vowel sounds occur in different syllables—for example, in the English word re-elect—the result is described as hiatus, not as a diphthong.

Diphthongs often form when separate vowels are run together in rapid speech during a conversation. Diphthongs use two vowel sounds in one syllable to make a speech sound. Diphthongs may be transcribed with two vowel symbols or with a vowel symbol and a semivowel symbol. When there is no contrastive vowel sequence in the language, the diacritic may be omitted. The tie bar can be useful when it is not clear which letter represents the syllable nucleus, or when they have equal weight. Superscripts are especially used when an on- or off-glide is particularly fleeting.

The non-syllabic diacritic is only used when necessary. However, exceptions to this rule are not rare in the world’s languages. A third, rare type of diphthong that is neither opening nor closing is height-harmonic diphthongs, with both elements at the same vowel height. Diphthongs may contrast in how far they open or close. Wide diphthongs are the opposite – they require a greater tongue movement, and their offsets are farther away from their starting points on the vowel chart. Languages differ in the length of diphthongs, measured in terms of morae. In languages with phonemically short and long vowels, diphthongs typically behave like long vowels, and are pronounced with a similar length.