A simple vowel (a, e, i, o, u) is named as monophthong. Vowels are referred to as lutes, in the pronunciation of which the air stream of the speaker is not hindered, as is the case with the consonants. A simple vowel is now a sound whose vowel quality does not change when speaking. The shaping of the speech apparatus remains the same for monophthong. In dipthong it changes.term
The term is derived from the Greek (μονόφθογγος ~ monóphthoggos). The word is composed of mónos and phthóggos, which can be translated with sound alone. The monophthong is therefore an all-tone or a sound that sounds alone. The translation refers to what is at issue: a sound that is alone [therefore the quality of the vowel does not change]. An example.
Monophthongs: a, e, i, o, u
Diphthongs: au, ei, ai, eu, äu, ui
The example represents monophthongs as well as diphthongs. If we express the individual letters and sequences clearly, we might notice a difference in the mouth. If these simple vowels are spoken (a, e, i, o, u), the shaping of the speech apparatus remains the same – the lips do not change during articulation, the jaw remains the same and there is no change in the oral cavity.
If, however, the diphthongs are spoken, we form the individual sounds. Since a dipthong consists of two vowels, these sounds are clearly articulated in the mouth. If, for example, ui is spoken, the position of the lips changes, the mouth opens during the articulation, and the speech apparatus moves. The vowel quality thus changes as the sound is articulated in different places.
Vowel and monophthongs
One possibility to present the vowel quality of the monophthongs is the vowel triangle proposed by the German physician Christoph Friedrich Hellwag in the course of his doctoral thesis. This vowel triangle provides information about where the vowels of the German are spoken.
The vowel triangle shows where the individual vowels are spoken in the mouth and the position of the lips
The above graphic shows a possible representation of the vowel triangle. The basis of the representation is the position of the tongue. In the case of a, the tongue lies deep, at the apexes, that is, i, u, u, it is higher, and when speaking of e, e and o, it moves somewhere in between. The lutes on the left side are emphasized in the mouth, the lutes on the right, in the back.
The graph also shows how far the mouth is open when these vowels are spoken. In the case of a, the mouth is widely opened, while it is confined by the lips at i, u, and u. Here, too, e, o, and o move at an average value of the two extreme points.
These different places in the speech apparatus and the opening of the lips in the articulation are now called vowel quality. It is obvious that a u is spoken with semi-closed lips and also very far behind. This configuration remains identical when speaking.
But if we now speak of a diphthong and, for example, connect the sounds a and u, the vowel quality changes in that the lips change from the open position to the semi-closed. The vowel quality thus changes from an open sound to a closed sound.
Some of the German monophthongs were formed by monophthongation from diphthongs. In the course of time, therefore, has changed with respect to a sound. Such a form of the phoneme affects only vowels. Opposite is the diphthongation,
In Germany the monophthongation has been traced since the eleventh century. As examples, the mid-high-German words liep, guot, or süez, which are written in Neuhochdeutsche dear, good and sweet. It is important, then, that [ie], uo [uo], and ue [ue] are spoken as diphthongs, that is, with a clear change in vowel quality.
In the course of the early German monophthongation, however, this is changing. The sounds did not change the vowel quality during the articulation, and changed to ie [i:], u [u:] and ü [y:]
Overview: The most important thing about the Monophthong
A simple vowel (a, e, i, o, u) is designated as a monophthong, the vowel quality of which is not changed during its articulation. The situation is different with a diphthong. In this case, the place of articulation changes in the speech apparatus, whereby the quality of the vowel changes.
Some of these sounds were originally diphthongs, which turned into monophthongs in the course of a monophthongation (words: love guote brüeder to dear good brothers).