Monophthong (definition)

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A monophthong is a vowel with no discernible shift in the vowel space; in other words, a simple vowel. These contrast with diphthongs, which are perceived as single syllables despite their being a combination of two vowels. English monophthongs include:

  1. /i/ as in bean
  2. /ɪ/ as in bin
  3. /e/ as in bane
  4. /ɛ/ as in been
  5. /æ/ as in bat
  6. /ə, ʌ/ as in but
  7. /ɑ/ as in bought
  8. /ɔ/ as in bore
  9. /ʊ/ as in book
  10. /u/ as in boot

For more information on the monophthongs included in the Gaelic phoneme inventory see Sounds of Scottish Gaelic.

See Also

External Links


  • Crystal, D. (2008) Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Matthews, P. H. (1997) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.