How many vowel sounds?

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In some texts, it was noted that their are 5 (a, e,i,o,u) vowel sounds; whereas, in some texts, in was noted that there are 27 vowel sounds (as in the phonetic chart) .

Can you help me to know what they are?
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Some texts speak very loosely when they say there are five vowels. They mean to say that there are five vowel letters (a, e, i, o, u). Actually, y and w are also used as vowel letters. That is, these seven letters and combinations of them are used to represent vowels. A vowel is something you hear, not something you see. The symbols (letters) you see are not, strictly speaking, vowels. They represent vowels, which is quite different.

Depending on which variety of English you are talking about there are 14 or 15 vowels. Combinations of these form diphthongs. It's possible that by including diphthongs a total of 27 might be reached. I don't know what sort of chart you were looking at.

CJ
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There are 5 vowels (although y is sometimes counted as a vowel as well).

But there are far more vowel sounds as each of these letters and their combinations can be pronounced in several different ways.

Take a for example. It is a single written vowel -a.

But compare the sounds of a within hat, fast, abandon, and so on.
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Anonymous:
Hello there!

My name is Priya and I am from Suriname. I study the English Language. I remember one subject I had to concentrate on very hard. It was about phonetics. I can inform you that it is not easy to detemine exactly how many vowels there are in English. American speakers have about 16 vowels, and British speakers have about 20 vowels. I refer you to the pdf file on google. Type in 'How many vowel sounds are there?' You should choose the third link. You'll find the conclusion there. Bye.
Anonymous:
thanks for the info..
Anonymous:
The English Alphabet is a complete mess. The general formula behind it appears to have been to assign a unique character to each consonant and each vowel sound that the human voice is capable of making (Genius! It really is!), however:

1. For some reason the "ch" (as in Chatter) was left out.
2. The "sh" (as in Shoot) was left out.
3. Only four of the basic ten vowel sounds were covered.

For some strange reason when the-powers-that-were got to the "ooo" sound they used the "u" character and put a "ya" sound in front of it, so this vowel is actually a combination of a consonant and a vowel, thus we get words like "uniform". The people behind the "u" idiocy apparantly responded to complaints by slapping us with the "W" (double U), thus multiplying the error. At least we mostly use "W" for a single consonant sound "Wa" as in Water, Waste, Why etc.

English is fast becoming the language of the whole world and in reality its majorly screwed up at it's very foundation. It's a crime to be teaching the alphabet to innocent, unsuspecting young children. How can they ever achieve intellectual greatness after such an ignominious beginning?

For example we waste two characters on the "ja" sound (as in Judge) "G" & "J", instead of using "G" strictly as we use it in words like "go", "garment" etc.

We waste the "C" character by using it as a redundant substitute for either "K" or "S", instead of using it strictly as the "Ch" sound, which would make vastly more sense.

Our mysterious infatuation with the letter "A" led to our insane attempt at using it to represent several different vowel sounds, instead of creating new characters.

When the-powers-that-were came to new sounds that weren't included in the alphabet, they decided to use modifier letters instead of creating new characters or reassigning existing characters in our 26 letter alphabet (i.e. add an "e" to change "at" to "ate" or add an "h" to "c" or "s" to get "cheese" or "shy").

We use the letter "Y" for the "ya" (as in Yellow) sound but then we call it a "WHY", which is the "wa" sound as in "water". What's up with that retardation?

What the heck is "X" doing in our alphabet? "X" is a combination of the "eh" vowel, the "Ka" consonant and the "S" consonant. "X" is a total rule breaker and must have been forced into the alphabet by royal edict. You can say the same for the letter "Q", which is a combination of the "Ka" sound, "Ya" sound and "ooo" sound.

Our alphabet should have 30 characters (20 consonants and 10 vowels).

If we're too fat, lazy and stupid to fix our alphabet then we don't even deserve an education. It's completely wasted on us.
Dear Anon:

Spelling reform has a very long and checkered history. You should read a bit about it if you are interested - there is a lot written on the subject.

For example, Johanthan Swift and Benjamin Franklin proposed revised spelling systems, and Mark Twain wrote a funny passage on it. Webster reformed American English spelling a bit when he wrote his first dictionary, and also wrote his essay on the problems with such standarization. His dictionary is a root cause of why there are present day differences in British and American spelling. And George Bernard Shaw left some of his estate to fund a spelling reform effort. In 1908, the spelling society was formed.

English was once spelled more phonetically, but both the language and our pronunciation has changed since then. And it is still changing! Besides language dynamics, there are many barriers to English spelling reform. Some languages (Dutch being one) have been completely reformed to be phonetic, but there was a official committee that had jurisdiction over the language and could enforce the changes on publishers and the education system. French also has such an authoritative body. English has never had such controls or language academy!
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Anonymous:
what are 14 or 15 vowels sounds
Anonymouswhat are 14 or 15 vowels sounds
It depends on the dialect/accent. Search the internet. Here are a few examples:

http://www.englishlanguageguide.com/english/pronunciation/vowels.asp

http://fonetiks.org/index.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/sounds /
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