Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A single vowel articulated without change in quality throughout the course of a syllable, as the vowel of English bed.
  • noun Two written vowels representing a single sound, as oa in boat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A simple vowel-sound.
  • noun A combination of two written vowels pronounced as one.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A single uncompounded vowel sound.
  • noun A combination of two written vowels pronounced as one; a digraph.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A vowel (in the sense of a sound rather than a letter of the alphabet) that has the same sound throughout its pronunciation, such as the short vowels in "pap", "pep", "pip", "pop" and "pup", as opposed to a diphthong (eg, /aɪ/, the vowel in "pipe") or a triphthong (eg, /aɪə/, the sound in the non-rhotic pronunciation of "pyre").

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Greek monophthongos : Greek mono-, mono- + Greek phthongos, sound.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek μονόφθογγος (monophthongos), from μόνος (monos, "single") + φθόγγος (phthongos, "sound").

Examples

  • A monophthong, on the other hand, is a vowel sound that has the same sound throughout, like the/æ/sound in American English hat.

    Poetry in Pittsburghese « Motivated Grammar

  • Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.

    Terrance Heath: Sotomayor and the Vulcan Standard, Pt. 2

  • She's getting the Oklahoma monophthong -- mah, she says, for my, and raht, for right.

    So

  • She's getting the Oklahoma monophthong -- mah, she says, for my, and raht, for right.

    Archive 2006-08-01

  • Monophthongization is the process of converting a diphthong to a monophthong (I’ll explain those terms in a minute.)

    Poetry in Pittsburghese « Motivated Grammar

Comments

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  • I can't help but feel that this word needs a bit of itself.

    April 13, 2011