The word “Diphthong” is basically derived from the Greek word Diphthongs. This word literally means “having two different sounds”. Generally, diphthongs are words that deal with vowels. If you consider the diphthongs then every vowel has two sounds of its own – short vowel sound and long vowel sound. Therefore the diphthongs play a vital role in the pronunciation of various words.
They are used whenever the vowel makes a new or different sound. This happens because it is working with conjunctions and with another vowel.
Basics of Two Vowel Diphthong Sounds
Let’s see the example to help you understand the concept of the diphthongs. The word “oil” has two different pronunciations. When you pronounce the word oil then you can notice two different vowels working side by side which creates different sounds. The vowel ‘i’ and ‘o’ produce sound that is different than anything ‘o’ and ‘i’ alone can produce. Now, this was just the basic example so that it helps you in understanding the sounds made by other vowels.
You are already familiar with the single vowels, such as a, e, i , o, u. When they are used separately (one at a time) then they are referred to as monophthong and when they make two different sound then they are called a diphthong. If you are spelling some words which have only one vowel-like “Hop”, then it is called monopthong and it will make only one sound.
Note: Diphthongs will vary between dialects, languages and also continents.
8 English Diphthongs with Example Words
If you consider the intricacy of the subject, then you won’t be surprised to know that there are eight different diphthongs provided by the English language. In this list, you would find some diphthong have just one vowel. You would keep wondering as to why single vowels are listed in the diphthong list. This happens whenever there is a movement in your mouth while pronouncing the letters. It will help in making the long vowel sound and mimicking two vowels. Hence you would notice the “di” remains even if there is only one vowel.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /i/, /igh/, and /y/ to form sounds similar to “eye.” Let’s have a look at some of the examples
- Cry – What made you cry yesterday?
- My – I have kept my pen on the table.
- Like – You would like to listen to some good music.
- Bright – Today seems to be a bright, sunny day.
- Lime – Would you like to have some lime soda?
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /ey/, /ay/, /ai/ and /a/ to form sounds similar to “great.” Here are a few more examples:
- Bake – Can you bake a cake for me?
- Rain – I guess it will rain today.
- Lay – You must lay down on your back and rest.
- Eight – There were eight chocolates in the basket.
- Break – You must take regular breaks while working.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /ow/, /oa/ and /o/ to form sounds similar to “boat.” Here are a few more examples:
- Go: You must not go inside the hidden cave.
- Oh: Oh! It is such great news.
- Slow: You should slow down while driving on the bumpers.
- Loan: Did you take an education loan to support your studies?
- Though: Though it was tasty but was very expensive.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /ou/ and /ow/ to form sounds similar to “ow!” Here are a few more examples:
- Bound – You are bound to pay the money.
- House – The house looks really beautiful.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /ai/, /a/, and /ea/ to form sounds similar to “air.” Here are a few more examples:
- Pair – These are a nice pair of shoes.
- Lair – He is a liar.
- Chair – This is my new chair.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /ee/, /ie/ and /ea/ to form sounds similar to “ear.” Here are a few more examples:
- Career – What have you thought about your career?
- Fear – Fear is more greater than danger.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /oy/ and /oi/ to form sounds similar to “oil.” Here are a few more examples:
- Boy – The boy is very active.
- Coy – It seemed to be coy on the farm.
- Toy – I want to play with my toy.
This diphthong uses letters and letter combinations like /oo/, /ou/, /u/, and /ue/ to form sounds similar to “cure.” Here are a few more examples:
- Fur – The teddy bear has got good fur on the body.
- Sure – Yes, for sure. You would get all the things done.
We hope this guide on diphthongs gave you a good insight on how to use them. Stay tuned for more awesome content like this one.
Keep Learning with EnglishBix!