• Triphthong: 5 closing diphthongs with ‘ə’ added on the end.
– eɪ + ə = eɪə . as in layer, player
– aɪ + ə = aɪə. as in lire, fire
– ɔɪ + ə = ɔɪə, as in loyal, royal
– əʊ + ə = əuə, as in lower, mower
– aʊ + ə = auə, as in power, hour.
What is a triphthong?
A triphthong is a glide from one vowel to another and then to a third, all produced rapidly and without interruption. For example, a careful pronunciation of the word ‘hour’ begins with a vowel quality similar to ‘ɑ:’, goes on to ‘ʊ’ then ends in ‘ə’. It’s called /aʊə/.
English triphthongs are composed of five closing diphthongs with ‘ə’ added on the end as discussed below:
- The sound /eɪə/:which is composed of the closing diphthong /eɪ/ and the schwa /ə/; thus, /eɪ/ + /ə/ = /eɪə/ as in the following words: layer = /leɪə/, player = /pleɪə/, sayer = /seɪə/.
- The sound /aɪə/:composed of the closing diphthong /aɪ/ and the schwa sound /ə/; thus, /aɪ/ + /ə/ = /aɪə/ as in the following words: liar = /laɪə/, admire = /ədmaɪə/, buyer = /baɪə/, tire = /taɪə/, tier = /taɪə/, tire = /taɪə/, flier = /flaɪə/.
- The sound /ɔɪə/:composed of the closing diphthong /ɔɪ/ and the schwa sound /ə/; thus, /ɔɪ/ + /ə/ = /ɔɪə/ as in the following words: employer = /ɪmplɔɪə/, destroyer = /dɪstrɔɪə/, enjoyable = /ɪndʒɔɪəbl/, buoyant = /bɔɪənt/.
- The sound /əʊə /: is composed of the closing diphthong /əʊ/ and the schwa sound /ə/; thus, /əʊ/ + /ə/ = /əʊə/ as in the following words: goer = /gəʊə/, borrower = /bɒrəʊə/, lower = /ləʊə/, thrower = /θrəʊə/, mower = /məʊə/.
- The sound /aʊə /: is composed of the closing diphthong /aʊ/ and the schwa sound /ə/; thus, /aʊ/ + /ə/ = /aʊə/ as in the following words: hour = /aʊə/, flour = /flaʊə/, flower = /flaʊə/, power = /paʊə/.
A combination of three vowel sounds in a single syllable forming a simple or compound sound: also, a union of three vowel characters representing together a single sound: a trigraph: as
Transcription of Triphthongs
Triphthong Word Phonetic Transcription
/eɪə/ player /peɪə/
/aɪə/ fire /faɪə/
/ɔɪə/ royal /rɔɪəl/
/əuə/ mower /məuə/
/auə/ hour /hauə/
List of examples of words with triphthongs
Here is the quick reference list of words that are being considered triphthongs.
- Romeo’s Examples of Triphthongs to Understand the Concept