Thursday, 3 December 2009

CHASING PIRATES. DIPHTHONGS /eɪ/ /aɪ/ /əʊ/ /aʊ/

Norah Jones' swirling singing will, this time, take us into the slippery world of some diphthongs /eɪ/ /aɪ/ /əʊ/ /aʊ/ (phonemically analyzed as a sequence of a semivowel and a monophthong) with her song Chasing pirates.
WARNING: don’t confuse /əʊ/ and /aʊ/ (they are often mixed up!). Click first on the phonetic chart on the right to hear the difference.

I have to admit I chose this song because I like it, nevertheless, it does serve the purpose of showing the difference between these very diphthongs. American English is commonly described as having wide diphthongs, made with less oral tension. This is quite evident in the song where the singer (born in New York) makes little distinction between /əʊ/ /aʊ/, but she does make it.

Native-Burmese speakers find it almost impossible to pronounce diphthongs and triphthongs. The same is true of native-Caribbean speakers.

Listen to the song and fill in the gaps (using ordinary spelling, not phonetics) as you listen to it. 


For further practice with diphthongs, try this game

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ana!
Thanks for all this hard work and interesting stuff.
Since I'm new in your blog and haven't read it thoroughly I have some questions...
How are we supposed to fill in the gaps? For example in the first gap in the latest Norah Jones's activity, should we type in schwa and short u, the complete phonemic transcription to "going", with or without slashes? Should we use the keyboard on the right to type and then copy and paste the transcription into the hotpot exercise?
Thanks ever so much

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Ana López Pozo said...

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