Examples of Central Vowel Words in English Phonetics

According to phoneticians, a vowel is a speech sound that is produced without significantly restricting the airflow from the lungs.  The tongue can be in a variety of postures and at a variety of heights in the mouth, including high, mid, and low (front, central, or back). There are several different lip shapes too while speaking. Vowels can differ in loudness and pitch.

Vowels may be regarded the most important aspect of language pronunciation, given that discrepancies in vowel pronunciation make it more challenging for speakers to understand one another. They are crucial for English’s rhythm in particular.

There are several ways to categorise vowels, and one of them is the frontness of articulation, which describes the region of the tongue that is utilised to enunciate the vowel.

When a certain vowel is uttered, the tongue is elevated to its highest point in the front, middle, or back of the mouth. For instance, the uppermost section of the tongue is in the front of the mouth while pronouncing the sound /ae/, as in “cat” (though the tongue is not raised much at all for this vowel).

Depending on how the frontness of the articulation is, we have three types of vowels:

  1. Front Vowels
  2. Central Vowels
  3. Back Vowels

We shall discuss about Central vowels in this article.

What are Central Vowels?

The central vowels, as their name suggests, are pronounced in the center of the mouth. The centre of the tongue is used to produce central vowels. To elaborate, all centre vowels are generated with the tongue’s body lifted toward the roof of the mouth at the point where the hard and soft palates converge. This placement is halfway between front and back vowels.

There are 5 types of central vowels:

  1. The first of the high vowels is /uː/ (as in food)
  2. The second high vowel is /ʊ/ as in good.
  3. The vowel made with mid tongue elevation is /ɔ:/ (as in caught).
  4. The vowel with the lowest tongue elevation is /ɑ:/ (as in palm).
  5. The final vowel with slightly higher tongue elevation and slightly retracted tongue position is the sound /ɒ/ (as cotpot and lot)

Examples of Central Vowel Words

Following is list of examples of words with central vowels in English pronunciation:

cub duchy muck
bubba touching stucco
bubble bludgeon ruckus
bucket flood sullen
butter ruddy cult
clutches sudden pummel
double muddle luncheon
rubber muffle hunk
stubborn toughen sunken
duchy buffer unction
touching puffy junket
bludgeon tuft bunker
flood snuggle puppy
ruddy mugger Russian
sudden muggy usher
muddle judge luscious
muffle cudgel tux
toughen hut buzz
buffer budget subtle
puffy muck gusto
tuft stucco doth
snuggle ruckus nothing
mugger sullen other
muggy cult shovel
judge pummel lover
cudgel luncheon covet
hut hunk accepted
budget sunken alien
muck unction aluminium
stucco junket capital
ruckus bunker carbon
sullen puppy colloidal
cult Russian conglomerate
pummel usher corrosive
luncheon luscious cosmology
hunk tux Dakota
sunken buzz disambiguation
unction subtle financial
junket gusto generally
puppy doth idiopathological
Russian nothing inexplicable
usher shovel kaleidoscope
luscious lover microscopic
tux covet burns
buzz accepted bust

Quick Links

  1. Types of Vowels in English Phonetics
  2. English Words with All Vowels