Backness (definition)

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When a sound is pronounced with the body of the tongue pushed to the back of the mouth, usually with the tongue balled up near the velum, we say that it is back. The English vowels /ʊ/ (as in book), /u/ boot, /o/ boat, /ɑ/ pasta are all back. Backness can also be heard in consonants, especially sonorants like /l/.

See Also

External Links


  • Crystal, D. (2008) Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ladefoged, D. (2010) A Course in Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing.