Language

Difference Between Open Vowels and Close Vowels

The set of sounds of a language are classified into consonants and vowels, where the consonants are those letters that are produced from the closure or narrowing of the organs associated with pronunciation such as the lips, tongue, teeth, among others. Likewise, the vowels, whose name comes from the Latin -vocalis- which refers to the sounds made by the mouth, are simple sounds caused by the friction of the air through the vocal cords. It is worth noting that vowels can be pronounced alone, that is, without the help of other letters (vowels or consonants).

There are various types of vowels due to the variation of the sound produced according to the displacement of the muscles and organs involved in the phonation process. In this way the vowels can be open or closed. The definitions of both, as well as the differences between them, are indicated below in this article.

open vowels

Open vowels are those whose pronunciation requires greater opening of the oral cavity, these are a, e and o. Open vowels are also called strong vowels, due to the position of the organs where the sound is produced.

An open vowel is characterized by the position of the tongue in the oral cavity, where it is placed in the lower part of the mouth with the purpose of widening or increasing the space for air to escape and consequently the sound is produced with greater volume. power.

For example: Some words pronounced with open vowels are house, ballad, belen, octagon, stick, among others.

closed vowels

Closed vowels are those whose pronunciation does not require so much opening of the oral cavity, these are i and o. Closed vowels are also called weak vowels, due to the position of the organs involved in the phonation process.

A closed vowel is characterized by the position of the tongue in the oral cavity, where it is placed in the upper part of the mouth with the purpose of reducing the space through which the air comes out and, consequently, the sound is produced with less power. .

For example : some words pronounced with closed vowels are print, difficult, influence, voodoo, cross, pulí, among others.

Once the terms that concern this article have been defined, the difference between open vowels and closed vowels becomes clear. These differences lie in the position of the organs involved in phonation, in this case, the organ that determines the production of sound is the tongue, which changes position to increase or decrease the size of the oral cavity and consequently determine the type of sound associated with power. Next, we summarize these differences in the following table:

open vowels closed vowels
The open vowels in Spanish are a, e and o. The closed vowels in Spanish are i and u.
Open vowels are called strong vowels. Close vowels are called weak vowels.
Open vowels are pronounced with the tongue located in the lower part of the mouth, allowing more air to pass through, so the sound produced is more powerful. Closed vowels are pronounced with the tongue positioned in the upper part of the mouth, allowing less air to pass through and, consequently, the sound is produced with less power.

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