Finnish Phonology - Vowels


Finnish monophthongs
Front Back
Close i y u
Mid e ø o
Open æ ɑ

Phonetically, the phoneme /ɑ/ is usually central, although it is back in some dialects. The mid vowels are phonetically "true" mid, i.e. intermediate between close-mid (, ) and open-mid (, ). However, since no language is known to phonemically distinguish all three of these levels of mouth opening, the International Phonetic Association (IPA) provides no separate symbols for mid vowel phones. If precision in phonetic transcription is desired, the mid front phones can be indicated by using the lowering diacritic with the symbols for close-mid front vowels, as follows:, and .

Finnish makes phonemic contrasts between long and short vowels, even in unstressed syllables, though long close-mid vowels are more common in unstressed syllables. Each short monophthong has a long counterpart with no real difference in acoustic quality. Long vowels are phonemically perceived as two identical vowels in succession and vowel length is not understood as a phonemic quality in Finnish such as vowel height.

Read more about this topic:  Finnish Phonology

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