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A diphthong is a single-syllable vowel sound in which the beginning of the sound is different from the end sound—that is, the sound glides from one vowel sound to another. For this reason, diphthongs are often referred to as gliding vowels.
There are eight vowel sounds in American English that are generally agreed upon as being diphthongs.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the combination of two vowels—a syllabic and a nonsyllabic vowel—in one syllable, for example, the French [oi]. Two types of diphthongs may be distinguished: the rising diphthong, in which the second vowel is the syllable-building element, for example, the French [ie] and [ui] and the falling diphthong, in which the first vowel is the syllable-building element, for example, the English [ai] and [au].

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As part of an ongoing project, this paper seeks to fill this void; specifically, it deals with diphthong acquisition in Spanish by L2 learners.
Palatal /[??]/ is changed to nasal alveolar /n/ and diphthong (nio)
In You Say Potato - the book he wrote with his son, Shakespearean actor Ben Crystal - he said this was "thanks mainly to the way it uses diphthongs in a different way from standards English and other accents.
Bede, on the contrary, states that "later poets" (posteriores poetae) or the composers of "our poetry" (nostratia poemata) prefer to shorten diphthongs only inside words, although he fails to provide his reader with an example of this:
Diphthong MP *-aw, and *-ay experiencing retention in ISP.
In Experiment 3, the number of touches was highly reduced when inputting a complete sentence including double consonants (Table 3) and diphthongs (Table 4).
Languages differ in the length of diphthongs. Diphthongs typically behave like long vowels in languages with phonemically short and long vowels.
Relative to short vowels, diphthongs are rather rare.
On the other hand, the diphthongs involve both type of analysis as mentioned above.
A tendency to shorten diphthongs and to leave out the second element in a diphthong e.g.
By lacking awkward diphthongs and double consonants like -ph-, banananames tend to be more amenable to palindroming.