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  • Category: Improve Your English

    What are semi-vowels?

    In the wonderful platform of ISC, an interesting contest is going on. Members are supposed to make new words using only consonants. Many words have been submitted by the Members. All the words contain ý'.

    During my childhood, I learnt that 'w'and 'ý' are consonants but under some circumstances, these two letters can be used as vowels. So, these two letters are termed as semi-vowels. In the ongoing contest, all participating Members have been using 'y' as vowel to make new words.

    In this context, I would like to know the other characteristics of these two semi-vowels. I hope other Members would help.
  • #607661
    Vowels and consonants are classified based on the vowel sound rather than the letter. You see the same 'a' in "alien" and in "ball" sounds very different. 'y' has a specific sound. I know not much about 'w'.
    You see the alphabets after 'v' came much later in English. Just to ease the pain of spelling and pronouncing.
    Words like 'w','x','y' and 'z' therefore serve no practical applications and very small amount of words start with these letters.
    You cannot make a word which contains no vowel sound. That's where consonant 'y' jumps in and becomes a pseudo-vowel. "Try" , "Fry" , "Cry" on. I cannot say the same about 'w'. Because it cannot be used as a pseudo-vowel sound.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #607677
    W is also treated as semivowel. The semivowel W represents the vowel sound "oo" when it occurs next to another vowel:
    - water
    - cow.

    always confident

  • #607700
    Semi Vowels are a speech sound intermediate between a vowel and a consonant, e.g. w or y.In English alphabet, there are total five Vowels a, e, i, o and u. There are two letters- y and w, which are called Semi-Vowels. Like in the word "cry", y is considered as Semi-vowel. More examples are

    The semivowel Y is the vowel sound "ee":
    - yes (long E, short E),
    - sky or high (short O, long E),

    The semivowel W represents the vowel sound "oo" : -
    - water (oo, short O),
    - cow (short A, oo).

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