The English monophthongs
The word ‘monophthong’ consists of two parts: ‘mono’ and ‘phthong’. ‘Mono’ means one and ‘phthong’ means sound. So, monophthong simply means one sound. The English monophthongs are also called pure vowels.
The English monophthongs are 12 in number. To make it easy for you to recognize and learn to use all these vowels appropriately, they have been numbered Vowel 1, Vowel 2, Vowel 3, and so on. These numbers have been assigned them as their names. The first twelve vowels constitute the monophthongs.
Identifying the monophthongs
The twelve English monophthongs have been listed below. Corresponding to each monophthong is its name (i.e. its number) and words that have the vowel in them. The letter or letters in the words representing the vowel sound have been underlined. Read the vowels and the words below.
|Vowel 1||/i:/||as in||sea||eagle||theme||legal|
|Vowel 2||/i/||as in||sit||pit||hit||did|
|Vowel 3||/e/||as in||bed||men||merry||set|
|Vowel 6||/ɔ/||as in||hot||not||rot||pot|
|Vowel 7||/ɔ:/||as in||port||taught||caught||court|
|Vowel 8||/ʊ/||as in||foot||pull||full||book|
|Vowel 9||/u:/||as in||food||pool||fool||wool|
|Vowel 10||/ᴧ/||as in||love||cup||but||sum|
|Vowel 11||/ə:/||as in||fur||blur||heard||hurt|
|Vowel 12||/ə/||as in||ago||about||never||occupy|
Read the vowels and the words once more. Think about other words that make use of the vowels you have just read.
The vowel chart
The diagram that follows is called the vowel chart. The vowels have been plotted on the vowel chart. Observe carefully the positions of the vowels in the chart below.
The vowels got their names from the positions they occupy in the vowel chart. Observe carefully the positions of the vowels in the vowel chart that follows.
- The word ‘monophthong’ consists of two parts: ‘mono’ and ‘phthong’.‘Mono’ means one and ‘phthong’ means sound. So, monophthong simply means one sound.
- The English monophthongs are also called pure vowels.
- The English monophthongs are twelve in number.
- The English vowels have been assigned numbers. The numbers given them are their names.
- The vowels got their names from the position they occupy in the vowel chart.
John Tetteh Agor, Ph.D.
Modestus Fosu, Ph.D.
Prosper Kwesi Agordjor, M.Phil.
William Foli Garr, (Rev.) M.Phil.