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A monophthong is a single, pure vowel
While pronouncing a monophthong, the
positions of the mouth and tongue remain
There are twelve (12) English diphthongs
altogether. They are:-
/i:/, //, //, /u:/, //, /:/, //, /:/, /e/,
//, // and /:/.
Short: e
Long: i: u: : : :

- pit
e - pet
- pat
- pot
- good
- luck
- ago
i: - meat
u: - tool
: - car
: - door
: - girl

// Lips loosely spread. Tongue lax
with less tension than / i: / - p i t
/e/ Lips loosely spread and slightly
wider apart than / / - p e t
// Lips neutrally open and slightly
wider apart than / e / - p a t
// Open lip-rounding, wide open jaws, back
of tongue low - p o t
// Lips loose, but closely rounded. Tongue
not as tense as in /u:/ - g oo d
// Lips neutrally open. Open jaws.
Centralized quality - l u ck
// Lips in neutral position. Centralized.
Tongue slightly higher than in // - a go

/i:/ Lips spread. Tongue tense (front raised)
with sides touching upper molars - m ea t
/u:/ Lips closely rounded. Back of tongue
high. Tense compared with // - t oo l
/:/ Lips neutrally open and jaws far apart.
Centre to back of tongue fully open - c a r
/:/ Medium lip rounding. Tongue drawn
back making no contact with upper
molars - d oo r
/:/ Lips neutrally spread. Tongue slightly
higher than // (no firm contact with upper
molars) - g i r l
Vowel Chart
Tongue Height
If you repeat to yourself the vowel sounds in
seat /i:/ , set /e/, sat//, you will find that you
open your mouth a little wider as you change
from each sound, from close to open.
These varying degrees of openness
correspond to different degrees of tongue
height: high, mid, low.

High vowels are made with the front of the
mouth less open or close because the
tongue body is raised, or high.
Mid vowels are produced with an
intermediate tongue height that causes semi-
close and semi-open.
Low vowels are pronounced with the front of
the mouth open and the tongue lowered.

Tongue Advancement
Besides being held high or mid or low,
the tongue can also be pushed forward
or pulled back within the oral cavity.
For example, in beat/i:/, the body of the
tongue is raised and pushed forward so
it is just under the hard palate.

In boot/u:/, however, the body of the tongue
is in the back of the mouth, toward the velum.
The tongue is advanced or pushed forward
for all the front vowels, and retracted or
pulled back for the back vowels.

Lip Rounding
Vowel quality also depends on lip
position. When you say two, your lips
are rounded.
For tea, however, they are unrounded.

Tense vs. Lax
Vowels that are called tense are
produced with an extra degree of
muscular effort.
Lax vowels lack this extra effort.