What is the accurate position of the tip of the tongue in the case of all vowels (including the diphthongs)? And in which vowels does the back of the tongue touche the palate? Thanks.
This sounds like a big order!
Offhand, I'd say the back of the tongue doesn't touch the palate in producing English vowels.
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Can you comment on the implication of "Received Pronounciation," beyond its being standard?
Take a look at this picture: tongue position
If you keep your tongue high in your mouth, you have "close" vowels (or "high" vowels). If you keep it low, you have "open" vowels (or "low" vowels). If you keep your tongue back, you have "back" vowels. If you keep it toward the front of your mouth, you have "front" vowels. Of course there are a lot of possible vowels between those extremes. You can see them in this chart:
KooyeenI think the tip of the tongue is just down and relaxed in vowels. Neither the tip nor the back touch anything anywhere, or the sound produced wouldn't be a vowel sound.Hi, Kooyeen. I'm not qute sure what prompted me to get into this, but I find that in AmE, when speaking or singing certain vowel sounds, the "tip of my tongue" touches the base of my lower front teeth. This is true with what we called "long vowels" in grammar school: "e" as in Pete, "a" as in hate, the end of the dipthong of "I" as in pie.
With the "short e" as in pet, you can pronounce it with the tip of the tongue held back, but it's unnatural - especially if you have to sing it. The same is true of the "short a" as in hat.
With the broad "a" as in Amen, the tip of the tongue is lower, touching the gum. Again, you can hold it back, but certainly not while singing.
When the doctor says, "say Ah!" the tongue can be held back, or behind the teeth, or curled down into the base of the mouth.
That's my story. It may not conform to the way language students are taught. - A.
I know the vowel chart and quadrilateral, but was not sure about the position of the tongue concerning whether or not it touches the lower teeth or the floor of the mouth because I read controversial descriptions about it. E. g. Jones (1969) writes about producing some English vowels that the tongue tip touches the bottom teeth (/iː/, / ɪ/, /e/, /æ/, /ʌ/, /ɜː/) 'but small variations do not materially affect the tamber', (It seems that in the case of the front and central vowel sound.) while in ɡeneratinɡ some vowels, he says, 'the tip of the tongue is generally, though not necessarily, somewhat retracted from the lower teeth' (as with /ɑː/,/ɒ/,/ɔː/, /ʊ/, /uː/ - so the back ones). Yet I read in a book of a contrastive phonology type that the tongue tip is retracted from the lower teeth in the production of all the English vowels (including the diphthongs). And I am confused, since I am not a native speaker.
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