A diphthong is two vowel sounds together. That means your mouth has to move: there is a beginning and an ending position. Study this diphthong with illustrations and up close, slow motion speech.
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The ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. The first sound of this diphthong does not appear on its own as a vowel in American English. To make this sound, aa, ow, the back part of the tongue stretches a bit towards the soft palate, aa, and you can see the corners of the lips pull a bit and the top lip pulls up, showing a little bit more of the top teeth, aa, aa. The second half of the diphthong is the ‘uh’ as in ‘pull’ vowel sound. In this vowel sound, the back of the tongue will stretch even further up towards the soft palate, ow, ow. And you can see the lips will come in and round for the second part of the diphthong, ow, now.
Here we see both sounds of the diphthong. In the first sound, you can see the jaw is dropped more. Here are the two sounds in profile. Here parts of the mouth are drawn in. In the first sound on the left, the tongue is raised and pulls back, slightly higher in the back. In the second sound the tongue stretches up towards the soft palate. The tip of the tongue is touching the bottom front teeth in the first sound, but is not quite touching in the second sound. The ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. Sample words: cow, bow, sound. Sample sentence: I found my flowers dead and brown when I came back to town. Now you will see this sentence up close and in slow motion, both straight on and from an angle, so you can really study how the mouth moves when making this sound.
I, with the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong. Lip up to make the F in found, and here we have the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. The space in the mouth gets darker as the tongue is moving back. My flowers, again, the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’, and again, you can see the tongue moves back as the space in the mouth gets darker. Teeth come together for the Z in flowers, also for the D in dead with the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ vowel sound. Tongue tip up for the D. And brown, lips together for the B and again the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. Tongue up to make the N. The lips form the tight circle for the W, when, tongue tip up for the N. I came, lips together for the M sound. Back, the tongue up in the back to make the K sound. To town, with the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong, lips rounding at the end, tongue tip up for the N.
And now from the angle. I found, the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. You can see the tongue moving back as the lips come forward and round. My flowers, again, the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’. The lips come in to round for the second half of the diphthong. Teeth make the Z position.Dead, tongue tip up for the D. And brown, again, the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. The tongue there coming forward from being back for the R. When with the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’, tongue up for the N. When I came, lips together for the M. Back, you can see the tongue moving up in the back for the K sound. To with the schwa, town. Again the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong, see the tongue moving back and the lips rounding. Tongue tip up for the N. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.