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}} In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as an English "ah!" {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}} or "oh!" {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}}. There are two competing definitions of a vowel. In the more common phonetic definition, a vowel is a sound pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English "sh!" [ʃː], which have a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract. In the other, phonological definition, a vowel is defined as syllabic, the sound that forms the peak of a syllable. A phonetically equivalent but non-syllabic sound is a semivowel.

In oral languages, phonetic vowels normally form the peak (nucleus) of many to all syllables, whereas consonants form the onset and (in languages that have them) coda. Some languages allow other sounds to form the nucleus of a syllable, such as the syllabic l in the English word table [ˈtʰeɪb.l̩] (when not considered to have a weak vowel sound: [ˈtʰeɪb.əl]) or the syllabic r in Serbo-Croatian word vrt [vr̩t] "garden".

The word vowel comes from the Latin word vocalis, meaning "vocal" ("relating to voice").<ref name="Vowel Etymology">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In English, the word vowel is commonly used to mean both vowel sounds and the written symbols that represent them.


Vowel sections
Intro  Definition of \"vowel\"   Acoustics    Prosody and intonation    Monophthongs, diphthongs, triphthongs   [[Vowel?section=_Written_vowels__{{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}_| Written vowels {{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}} ]]  Audio samples   Vowel systems    See also    References    Bibliography   [[Vowel?section=</a>_External_links_|</a> External links ]]  

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