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Department of Linguistics



In this topic we examine vowel articulation. We will focus on tongue position (vowel height and fronting), lip posture (spread, neutral and rounded), nasalisation, retroflexion, and duration. We will also examine the distinction between monophthongs and diphthongs.


The material outlined in these course notes needs to be supplemented by reading from other sources. Reading material covering vowels can be found in:-

  • Cox, 2012 (section 2.7)
  • Clark, Yallop & Fletcher (sections 2.7- 2.8)
  • Ladefoged (pages 18-22 and chapters 4 and 9)


  1. Vowel tongue articulation
  2. Vowel lip posture
  3. Complex Vowel Articulations (including Diphthongs)

Related Topics

Vowels are also dealt with in the following modules:-

Vowel features will also be dealt with in the module on:-