American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A sound that has the quality of one of the high vowels, as (ē) or (o͞o), and that functions as a consonant before or after vowels, as the initial sounds of yell and well and the final sounds of coy and cow. Also called glide.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A half-vowel; a sound partaking of the nature of both a vowel and a consonant; an articulation lying near the line of division between vowel and consonant, and so capable of being used with either value; also, the sign representing such a sound. The name is very variously applied by different authorities; w and y are oftenest called semivowels, also
land r, and sometimes the nasals m and n.
- n. A sound in speech which has some qualities of a consonant and some qualities of a vowel
- n. A letter which represents a semivowel sound, such as w or y in English.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A sound intermediate between a vowel and a consonant, or partaking of the nature of both, as in the English
- n. The sign or letter representing such a sound.
- n. a vowellike sound that serves as a consonant
- semi- + vowel (Wiktionary)
“You overlooked what I already clearly wrote: "avoidance of word-initial semivowel /j/.”
“The YA-/A- alternation in Minoan is merely a reflection of the phonotactically motivated avoidance of word-initial semivowel /j/.”
“And, Iūnō is the *Latin* name; Uni is the Etruscan which, lo and behold, avoids the word-initial semivowel /j/.”
“But continuing with the third possibility of preaspiration… on the basis of this single example, there are a number of possible explanations for the distribution, for example after vowels and semivowel.”
“And sometimes the speaker pronounces ‘yi’ with a discernible initial semivowel sound.”
“However, I notice that the initial semivowel of the triliteral *wd` is uncertain.”
“I'm not a native speaker and I don't have a dictionary to hand so there's a good chance I'm mistaken, but is the last sound of 'acceuil' and 'seuil' and 'deuil' a kind of a semivowel that has its own IPA representation?”
“A semivowel that which with such impact has an audible sound, as S and R.”
“I mean may be either a vowel, a semivowel, or a mute.”
“Associated with the vowel of each family are a diphthong and semivowel, for example e and ya with i, and all of these have lengthened forms, such as â, ai and yâ.”
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