Tag Archives: pronunciation

Vermont and Dipthongs…

Well, I’m in Vermont, trying to absorb all the learning and inspiration I can until next Friday morning. Thus far, the process is going quite well. I have had the opportunity to remember, however, that high humidity in summer is roughly akin to taking a steam bath in jeans and a sweater. Additionally, one of our civilizations greatest achievements is the iPod with video capability, thus making it possible for me to watch episodes of The Office almost anywhere. I love technology.

I’ll try to post more over the next couple of days (no promises) about things I’m actually learning, especially as regards the writing process. For now, I’d like to note that I’ve been in a roughly 3-hour-on-and-off-again conversation about how many syllables different words are. Fire, buoy, boy, and oil have been prime examples. Along with some internet research, we’ve concluded that “boy” and “oil” are dipthongs, and “buoy” is a tripthong — groups of two or three vowels that make one sound. One sound, of course, constituting one syllable (even, technically, in the case of buoy.) My favorite caveat from the internet (and we tried to use reputable, authoritarian sources while determining this syllable problem) is this: ‘standard’ English has no real bearing, since there is no American academy that rules on standard language…thus, a word is one syllable if you pronounce it with one syllable and two if you pronounce it with two. Great, so a word has as many syllables as I give it. Essentially, in America, we are the arbiters of language, and what we say goes.

What a great country.


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