By this short vowel /I/, I mean the vowel in words like hit, it, and bit.

Formerly I pronounced air, hair, and care as the learners of RP did, but then I noticed the Americans don't do that.

In RP, air is pronounced as /e/ (same as the vowel in bed) .

In American pronunciation, it sounds in my ear like /e/ + schwa +/r/ OR /e/ + /I/ + schwa +/r/.

I wonder if there is a short vowel /I/ in it.

Thanks !
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Comments  (Page 2) 
stephenlearnerDon't know why the order of posts changed after I edited my last one. Stephen
Someone suggested your post as being the best answer to your original question, which turned it a beautiful shade of yellow, making it rise to the top of the thread. It's one of our more elegant features. You'll get used to it. Emotion: smile

Perhaps you hit the button yourself by accident. It's close to the "edit" button. Emotion: big smile
Thank Avangi for your explanation.

Back to my questions, can I conclude that in AmEng,

"air" is transcribed as [ ɛr], not [ɛɚ ];

tour is [tur], not [tuɚ ];

tear is [tir], not [tiɚ ] ?

Do the native speakers just drop the schwa?

If that is the case, how about the schwa in the first syllable of perform? Is that [p rˈ ] instead of [pɚˈ ]?

Hope someone could help!

Next, about the [e], Kooyeen, do you mean the first vowel of the diphthong [eI]? But this vowel can't exist independently. It must come together with or to form a diphthong.
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Hi, I have a question about the IPA vowel chart. Here is it, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_vowels .

Why do they recognize [a] as a front vowel? As far as I know, it is a back vowel.

When you say "father" or "calm" or "spa", do your say [a] or [ɑ ]?


By the way, I am a little bit frustrated about the font. I tried in vain the change them.

stephenlearnerI listened to the sample sound of /e/. It sounds a diphthong [eI]. Then I found this website, http://members.peak.org/~jeremy/dictionaryclassic/chapters/pronunciation.php . At the bottom of that page is a chart which shows that /e/ is [eI:].
Usually, in linguistics, symbols between two slashes represent phonemes (/.../), and symbols in square brackets represent their actual phonetic realization ([...]). I don't want to go into details, anyway. I just wanted to mention that, in case you happen to read something that looks confusing. Just remember that the way something is actually pronounced is given by its phonetic transcription (usually in square brackets), not its phonemic transcription (usually between two slashes).
So, if you want to know how the phoneme /e/ is pronounced in American or British English, you must first define what /e/ means. If you consider /e/ to be the vowel phoneme in "bed", then the phonemic transcription will be /bed/, in both BrE and AmE. But that doesn't tell you how to pronounce it. If you want to know how to pronounce it, you should know how the phonemes are actually pronounced in the dialects you are interested in. In both AmE and BrE, that /e/ is pronounced as [ɛ]. The phonetic transcription is then [bɛd]. On that website, they might have used a different phonemic convention, and so /e/ there might refer to something else.
CalifJimI'm not sure I can agree completely. The [ɛ] may be a little higher in "very", but only because of the following "r". It's certainly lower than [ e] in my opinion.

An explanation I read once (I don't remember where) took the view that (in AmE) the difference between tense and lax vowels is neutralized before "r", a sound somewhere between the two being the most common. This view strikes me as correct with few exceptions.
Yes, in fact, I think that many American /e/ phonemes in diphthongs are actually halfway between [e ] and [ɛ]. I think I'm exaggerating the differences a bit to simplify matters. The truth is that the realization of this phoneme can vary a lot (and be anywhere between [e ] and [ɛ], depending on the accent), but since it seems that the original poster has noticed a difference before /r/ which is common in American English, I was trying to explain the difference, somehow. I don't know if I'm doing well, but I wouldn't be able to think of any other simpler way to explain this.
Back to my questions, can I conclude that in AmEng,

"air" is transcribed as [ ɛr], not [ɛɚ ];

tour is [tur], not [tuɚ ];

tear is [tir], not [tiɚ ] ?
Well, [r] is not a possible sound in most English dialects. What you mean is [ɹ] or [ɻ], if you want to use the correct IPA symbols.

I'm not a real expert on phonetics, phonology, or whatever, so I don't know the real difference between [ɚ] and [ɹ], but I would say they often represent the exact same sound. I think that [ɹ] is used in transcriptions when it represents a kind of syllable boundary, while [ɚ] is used when it represents the nucleus of a syllable, and that is the only difference that I can think of. It's just my guess, anyway.
I would transcribe "air" in American English as [eɹ] (or [eɚ], which I consider to be equivalent in this case).
stephenlearnerdo you mean the first vowel of the diphthong [eI]
In American English, the diphthong in words like "bay" is usually something like [ei]. It's two vowels put together, so it makes sense to talk about the "first" vowel, or the "starting" vowel, when you are trying to analyze it.

stephenlearnerWhy do they recognize [a ] as a front vowel? As far as I know, it is a back vowel. When you say "father" or "calm" or "spa", do your say [a ] or [ɑ ]?
Because [a ] IS a front vowel. The exact quality of the vowel in "calm", "father", etc. depends on the accent.

I hope you are aware that you've been asking very complicated questions, LOL. Emotion: smile

Thank you Kooyeeen!

I am a beginner of IPA. So forgive me if I ask confusing and sometimes silly questions. I did not know the difference between // and [], so you might have seen that I used them interchangebaly.

I understand more than the time when I started this thread. thanks

Emotion: smile
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Not ready to start a new thread, so I plan to put new questions here.

For the native speakers who are not cot-caught mergers, do you use the same vowel for words "caught" and "core"? If not, why is the difference?

Next, is the last vowel in "happy" closer to eat or it? My Oxford English dictionary transcribes happy as

/hApI/, eat as /i:t/ for BrE and /it/ for AmE, and it as /It/.

But “y" in "happy" doesn't sound the same as "i" in "it" in my ear.

Wow! Not even!!

"Caught" is like "hot." (I guess I'm a "cot-caught merger." Who the heck isn't?)
If you pronounce it like "core," it would be "quart-court." (We don't pronounce "quart" with a dipthong in my neck of the woods.)

Yes, "happy" is like "eat," or "see."
stephenlearner"air" is transcribed as [ ɛr], not [ɛɚ ];

tour is [tur], not [tuɚ ];

tear is [tir], not [tiɚ ] ?
In the transcriptions of American English I am most familiar with, you are basically correct.

I would change the examples thus:

"air" is [ ɛr]
"poor" is [pur]
"fear" is [fir]

My reason for changing your examples is that "tour" is often pronounced as two syllables [tuɚ ] = [tuər], and that there are two "tear"s -- [ tɛr] (rip) and [tir] (from the eye).

I am assuming that your symbol ɚ is a combination of a schwa and an r, which are also used to transcribe that sound. Thus, I'm taking [ɚ] as an equivalent of [ər]. I am also assuming the substitution of [r] for the more correct [ɹ], which is typically done in transcribing English when no comparisons to other languages are involved.

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Yes, CalifJim, your assumption is correct. I am glad that I can be understood.