Diphthong

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diphthong

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Diphthong

 

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 ?
10) (a) heiye: seyye 2813, seye 5987, seiye 6191, 9372, cuntreie 8312 (b) heiye: aspie 1151, 6794, vilainie 2355, curteisielie 5064, Vnplie 5064, compeinie 7822, 8207, 9321 Evidently, rhyme-words in (10a) indicate the diphthongal pronunciation of heiye, while rhymes in (10b) seem to indicate monophthongal pronunciation with long [i:].
In the West Midland, the diphthongal forms were particularly frequent between 1350 and 1400.
The only Kentish text, the poems by William of Shoreham, exhibits a similar distributional pattern with preference for diphthongal EY forms.
This class contains [i:], [Ii] and a Cockney-type diphthongal realisation with a centralised onset [[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]i] (approximately a quarter of the tokens), the last variant also occurring among the SED realisations.
Buckinghamshire and Kent reveal prevailingly diphthongal realisations, while Essex and Surrey have mainly monophthongal variants.
Counties in the former set exhibit most fronting in GOOSE and GOAT, highest incidence of glottaling (Buckinghamshire males and females, Kent females), diphthongal variants of THOUGHT, and slightly more open onsets in the FACE lexical set.
Finally, it seems that the typesetters had a problem with Old English characters; thus on page 47 the letter wynn is missing, while throughout the book macrons over vowels are awkwardly placed and diphthongal graphemes have a very strange kerning.
The fact that these seem to develop differently in early and late West Saxon is not necessarily evidence that they were originally equivalent to neither /i(:)/ nor /y(:)/: rather, as Hogg himself suggests, the different developments are compatible with a view of early versus late West Saxon as different with respect to more than purely diachronic descent (see, in particular, Hogg 1992: [section]163): a view that undermines Hogg's own objection to an original diphthongal siginification for <ie>.
So <hi> would represent the normal development of the diphthongal significations of <ie> in early West Saxon to the monophthong represented by <i>, as in <hiran> / <hieran> 'hear'.
There would have been no existing diphthong of a type created by diphthongal resolution of <ie>: no template with which the original hiatus sequence could merge.
The mergers of the high vowels with pre-existing diphthongal units and the raising of the high mid vowels remain the only candidates for a mini-shift.
The fact that the diplithongs were 'smoothed' to /i/ and /u/ respectively, might well suggest that this langu age has no quantitative distinctions, though it has simple and diphthongal vowels.