American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A complex speech sound or glide that begins with one vowel and gradually changes to another vowel within the same syllable, as (oi) in boil or (ī) in fine.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A coalition or union of two vowels pronounced in one syllable. In uttering a proper diphthong both vowels are pronounced; the sound is not simple, but the two sounds are so blended as to be considered as forming one syllable, as in joy, noise, bound, out. An “improper” diphthong is not a diphthong at all, being merely a collocation of two or more vowels in the same syllable, of which only one is sounded, as ea in breach, eo in people, ai in rain, eau in beau. (See
digraph.) In Greek grammar, a proper diphthong is a diphthong the first vowel of which is short; an improper diphthong, a diphthong the first vowel of which is long. The proper diphthongs are αι, ει, οι, αυ, ευ, ου; the improper, α%26ι, ηι, ωι(commonly written ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ: see iota subscript, under subscript), ηυ, ωυ. An improper diphthong not usually distinguished as such is α%26υ, as in να%26υ%21ς, Epic νηυ%21ς. Some include υτin this class, and some limit the term to ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ.
- To sound as a diphthong; diphthongize.
- n. phonetics A complex vowel sound that begins with the sound of one vowel and ends with the sound of another vowel, in the same syllable.
- n. rare A vowel digraph or ligature.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A coalition or union of two vowel sounds pronounced in one syllable; as,
ouin out, oiin noise; -- called a proper diphthong.
- n. A vowel digraph; a union of two vowels in the same syllable, only one of them being sounded; as,
aiin rain, eoin people; -- called an improper diphthong.
- v. rare To form or pronounce as a diphthong; diphthongize.
- n. a vowel sound that starts near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves toward the position for another
- French diphtongue, from Ancient Greek δίφθογγος (diphthongos, "two sounds"), from δίς (dis, "twice") + φθόγγος (phthongos, "sound"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English diptonge, from Old French diptongue, from Late Latin diphthongus, from Greek diphthongos : di-, two; see di-1 + phthongos, sound. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“A diphthong is the gliding sound of combining vowels, as in the oy in the head-smacking Yiddish oy veh.”
“When one syllable of a word ends with a vowel, and the next syllable begins with the same vowel, the hyphen is placed between the syllables to indicate that the two vowels do not form a diphthong, that is, that they should not be pronounced together.”
“A diphthong is the union of _two_ vowels, pronounced by a single impulse of the voice; as _oi_ in voice, _ou_ in sound.”
“For example, when you encounter the "eye" diphthong in your words, sustain your voice on the first pure vowel in the diphthong, which is "ah".”
“He could not reconcile this kind of diphthong living with his notions of piety.”
“Apropos of that -- we have a 'diphthong' also in this part of the world -- not a _Greek_, but a _Spanish_ one -- do you understand me?”
“All nasty nouns should be replaced by the word "diphthong".”
“Apropos of that ” we have a 'diphthong' also in this part of the world ” not a Greek, but a Spanish one ” do you understand me? ” which is about to blow up the whole alphabet.”
“Many dictionaries and textbooks use/e/for both the diphthong and the single vowel, but in most varieties of AmE the vowel in “egg” is higher than in “bay”, so they need different symbols.”
“One exercise that I am recalling required placing a sheet of paper in front of our mouths while speaking -- it wasn't supposed to move -- and then there was the problem of diphthong (a special problem for many with "southern" accents) ... ahh, the memories!”
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