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What is a tripthong? Tripthong comes from French words tripthonque. According to Peter Roach, 2010 triphthong is a glide from one vowel to another and the to a third, all produced rapidly and without interruption. For example, a careful pronunciation of the word our begins with a vowel quality similar to / : /, which then glides towards the back close rounded area / / and lastly ends with a mid-central vowel( schwa,/ / ). For example, hour is transcribed as / a /. Besides, according to www.merriam-webster.com, triphthong is the combination of three vowels in a single syllable and forms a simple or compound sound. It is also a union of three vowels characters, representing together a single sound. They are the most complex English sounds of the vowel type. They can be rather difficult to pronounce, and very difficult to recognise. How are they formed? Tripthongs are formed by adding a central glide / / to the closing dipthongs ending in / / and / /. They are composed of 5 closing diphthongs and ended with a schwa //. They can be divided into two groups: ending in / / + / / or ending in / / + / /. The 5 types of tripthongs are shown in the table below:ENDING in / / + / / e + = e a + = a + = ENDING in / / + / / + = u a + = au

There is so much variation in the amount of vowel movement according to how slow and careful the pronunciation is, and also because the "careful" pronunciation can be found by looking at the description of the corresponding diphthong and adding // to the end. In order to help identify these triphthongs, some example words are given below. i. ii. iii. iv. e, as in layer, player ,mayor, a, as in lire, fire,hire , as in loyal, royal u, as in lower, mower,follower au, as in power, hour.sour


The cardinal vowel sytem showing the articulation system of tripthongs.

Problems that usually occured? The principal cause of difficulty for the foreign learner is that in present-day English the extent of the vowel movement is very small, except in very careful pronunciation. Because of this, the middle of the three vowel qualities of the triphthong (that is, the / / or / / part) can hardly be heard and the resulting sound is difficult to differentiate from some of the diphthongs and long vowels. To add to the difficulty, there is also the problem of whether a tripthong is felt to contain one, or two syllables. Words such as fire / faI / are probably felt by most English speakers (with BBC pronunciation) as being monosyllabic or consists of only one syllable, whereas higher / haI / are more likely to be heard as two syllables. We can see that in fire, it has only one syllables which suggests that / aI / is a single vowel that is tripthong but in the word higher has two syllables, which suggests that /aI / consists of a dipthong followed by a monophthong although both words have exactly the same rhymes. Besides, in British English many of these triphthongs are pronounced with such slight movement in vowel quality that it is difficult to recognise them; for example, the name Ireland, which is generally transcribed / a.lnd /, frequently has an initial syllable which sounds virtually indistinguishable from / /. When there is a morpheme boundary (e.g. buyer / ba. /) and when the word is felt to be foreign (this includes many Biblical names originating from Hebrew, e.g. Messiah /msa. / ) it seems necessary to insert a syllable division. Another problem with triphthongs is that before an /r/ consonant at the beginning of a following syllable, the distinction between /a/ and /a/ seems to be neutralised and it seems to make no difference whether one represents Irish, irate

as /a.r/ , /aet/ or as /a.r/ , /aet/, since there is no regular distinction made in pronunciation. In general, the practice of this edition is to transcribe such cases as /a-/

http://books.google.com.my/books?id=u29ff2oIPk8C&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=types+of+en glish+triphthongs&source=bl&ots=57mgl17E2-&sig=VGH3snc9L1sp7fc3aAPKSHHa1Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XNj0UcecGcqzrgefzIHgDg#v=onepage&q&f=false http://www.tuninst.net/ENG-PHON/Eng-diphth/diphth.htm