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Very rarely, the nucleus of a single syllable may contain three vowel sounds that quickly glide together; these compound sounds are known as triphthongs.
There are three triphthongs that are generally agreed upon in American English: /aʊə/ (“ah-oo-uh”), /aɪə/ (“ah-ih-uh”), and /jʊə/ (“ee-oo-uh”). These always come before an R sound in a word.
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 (trĭf′thông′, -thŏng′, trĭp′-)
A compound vowel sound resulting from the succession of three simple ones and functioning as a unit.

triph·thon′gal (-thông′əl, -thŏng′əl) adj.


(ˈtrɪfθɒŋ; ˈtrɪp-)
1. (Phonetics & Phonology) a composite vowel sound during the articulation of which the vocal organs move from one position through a second, ending in a third
2. (Phonetics & Phonology) a trigraph representing a composite vowel sound such as this
[C16: via New Latin from Medieval Greek triphthongos, from tri- + phthongos sound; compare diphthong]
triphˈthongal adj


(ˈtrɪf θɔŋ, -θɒŋ, ˈtrɪp-)

1. a monosyllabic speech-sound sequence made up of three differing vowel qualities, as in some pronunciations of our.
[1590–1600; < New Latin triphthongus < Medieval Greek tríphthongos with three vowels =tri- tri- + phthóngos voice, sound]
triph•thong′al (-gəl) adj.


[ˈtrɪfθɒŋ] Ntriptongo m
References in periodicals archive ?
Thus, the realization of this triphthong is closer to /oaae/ than /uae/, which means that the controversial transcription ua used since Saareste (1920) captures its actual quality relatively well.
bold-faced and given as an example of a triphthong.
But the crisp o-umlaut, the light l made by pressing the tongue firmly against upper incisors and gum, the sharply consonantal W followed by a strong, resonant nasal, with tongue hard against hard palate above the upper teeth, and the clearly distinguished three syllables of Wunderbar--the der being fully pronounced, not swallowed any more than the final r--all this contrasts vividly and, for the little Germanophile I had become, triumphantly, with the initial, easy-going diphthong or even triphthong of the English oil with its dark l, succeeded by Wonderful, a smudge of a word, opening with a vowel-sound then trailing off in two murmurs that could hardly be called syllables, especially the last.
Pick up each vocalic group, that is, a vowel, a diphthong, or a triphthong.
Only one vowel in a diphthong or triphthong may be syllabic in a single syllable.
There was one word with a triphthong in the first syllable and a half-long vowel in the second syllable, spelled with a macron (kuoigid 'ships').
The final /a/ of the 3ms perfect does not derive from a diphthong but from a triphthong *gabaya, in which *aya >as elsewhere in Aramaic.
The interrelation of tones and segment length appears most clearly in disyllabic opening-diphthong and triphthong series where in both series two pattern pairs out of five patterns participate in regular morphophonological alternations, cf.
For sequence vowel+w or y+vowel the term triphthong (pp.
In the sources from the mid-1920s (LKG; LL 1924; LL 1926; Stalte 1924) the diphthong ie and the first component of the triphthong ieu was interpreted as a semivowel.
7) This Respighi cycle illustrates a further subtlety of Italian text setting: the triphthong in inquieti in the third song is set to a single note, with the [e:] being syllabic and preceded unusually by a double semiconsonant [wj], as indeed the word is pronounced in spoken Italian.