A front vowel
is a class of vowel
sounds used in some spoken languages
, its defining characteristic being that the highest point of the tongue is positioned relatively in front in the mouth without creating a constriction that would make it a consonant
. Front vowels are sometimes also called bright vowels
because they are perceived as sounding brighter than the back vowels
Near-front vowels are essentially a type of front vowel; no language is known to contrast front and near-front vowels based on backness alone.
Rounded front vowels are typically centralized
, that is, near-front in their articulation. This is one reason they are written to the right of unrounded front vowels in the IPA vowel chart.
There also are front vowels without dedicated symbols in the IPA:
As above, other front vowels can be indicated with diacritics of relative articulation
applied to letters for neighboring vowels, such as ⟨i̞⟩, ⟨e̝⟩ or ⟨ɪ̟⟩ for a near-close front unrounded vowel.
Articulatorily fronted vowels
Fronted vowels are one of three articulatory dimensions of vowel space. The prototypical fronted vowel is [i]. Below it in the chart are fronted vowels with jaw opening.
In articulation, fronted vowels, where the tongue moves forward from its resting position, contrast with raised vowels
and retracted vowels
. In this conception, fronted vowels are a broader category than those listed in the IPA chart, including [ɪ ʏ], [ɨ ʉ], and, marginally, mid-central vowels. Within the fronted vowels, vowel height (open or close) is determined by the position of the jaw, not by the tongue directly. Phonemic raised and retracted vowels may be phonetically fronted by certain consonants, such as palatals
and in some languages pharyngeals
. For example, /a/ may be fronted to [æ] next to /j
/ or /ħ
Effect on preceding consonant
This historical palatalization is reflected in the orthographies
of several European languages, including the ⟨c⟩ and ⟨g⟩ of almost all Romance languages
, the ⟨k⟩ and ⟨g⟩ in Norwegian
, and the ⟨κ⟩, ⟨γ⟩ and ⟨χ⟩ in Greek
follows the French pattern, but without as much regularity. However, for native or early borrowed words affected by palatalization, English has generally altered the spelling after the pronunciation (Examples include cheap, church, cheese, churn
from /*k/, and yell, yarn, yearn, yeast
- ^ Tsur, Reuven (February 1992). The Poetic Mode of Speech Perception. Duke University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-8223-1170-4.
- ^ Scott Moisik, Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, & John H. Esling (2012) "The Epilaryngeal Articulator: A New Conceptual Tool for Understanding Lingual-Laryngeal Contrasts"
Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 15:12
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