Front vowel

Front vowel

A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. The front vowels identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

* close front unrounded vowel IPA| [i]
* close front rounded vowel IPA| [y]
* close-mid front unrounded vowel IPA| [e]
* close-mid front rounded vowel IPA| [ø]
* open-mid front unrounded vowel IPA| [ɛ]
* open-mid front rounded vowel IPA| [œ]
* near-open front unrounded vowel IPA| [æ]
* open front unrounded vowel IPA| [a]
* open front rounded vowel IPA| [ɶ]

In some languages, the open front vowels do not pattern or group with the other front vowels in their phonologies.

Effect on preceding consonant

In the history of many Indo-European languages, front vowels altered preceding velar consonants, bringing them forward to a palatal, postalveolar, or alveolar place of articulation. Similar changes, or sometimes ongoing allophonic variation, have occurred in many other languages, including Japanese. See "palatalization."

This historical palatalization is reflected in the orthographies of several European languages, including the "c" and "g" of Italian, Spanish, and French, the "k" in Norwegian and Swedish, and the "γ" in Greek. English follows the French pattern, but without as much regularity.However, for native or early borrowed words affected by palatalization, English has generally altered the spelling after the pronunciation (Examples include "cheap, church, cheese, churn" from *IPA| [k] "yell, yarn, yearn, yeast" from *IPA| [g] .)

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