Height (definition)

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Height is a vocalic feature that refers to the vertical position of the tongue body, specifically its distance from the roof of the mouth. There are three levels of height: high, low, and mid. Height references the placement of the articulators necessary in the production of certain sounds; for vowels, this can be difficult. Nevertheless, height is used to distinguish between natural classes of vowel and in tandem with frontness and backness describes a wide range of the vocalic continuum.

In English:

  • [i, ɪ, ʊ, u] are high vowels,
  • [e, ɛ, ɔ, o, ʌ, ə] are mid vowels,
  • [æ, ɑ] are low vowels.

See Also

External Links

The link below takes you away from the Gaelic Wiki to Wikipedia. Since wikipedia pages can be edited by anyone, they often contain inaccurate information. So be careful!


  • Matthews, P. H. (1997) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ladefoged, D. (2010) A Course in Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing.