Vowels are an essential component of spoken language and are used to form syllables and words. In the English language, there are five (or six) vowels: A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.
But, as sociolinguist Dr. Erica Brozovsky explains, the way linguists define vowels may mean that R can qualify as a vowel, too… at least sometimes.
“R is an incredibly weird letter with so many different sounds and functions. It’s a wonder that we use one symbol to represent them all. And how people pronounce that one letter can speak volumes about their history and social background.”
What three qualifications must a vowel have? What’s going on in your mouth when you make an R sound? And how is the pronunciation of the letter R “one of the most vivid differentiators between English dialects?”
Watch Otherwords on YouTube and on TKSST, including:
• The “Screwed-Up History” of English Spelling
• Popular Words Invented by Authors
• A History of Pronouns: Little Words That Say a Lot
Plus: More videos about words.
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