Twi Diphthongs | Vowel Combinations

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From our last lesson, we got to know about a group of Twi sounds that are formed by the combination of two successive consonants (each). If you missed it, please click on Twi digraphs|Consonant Combinations to check it out.

Let’s now turn our attention away from the consonants and focus on the vowels. We are looking at Twi Diphthongs today. For those who would like to follow the video lesson instead (highly recommended for beginners), I have embedded it below. If, on the other hand, you are interested in the text version, you may continue reading beneath the video.

Video Lesson

Twi Diphthong

A diphthong is defined as a sound formed by the combination of two vowel sounds in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another. Examples of diphthongs in English include the /ɔɪ/ sound that you find in the word ‘coin’, the /aʊ/ sound that you find in the word ‘loud’, and the /ʌɪ/ sound that you find in the word ‘side’.

So, you can see we are no more dealing with letters combining to form individual sounds as with digraphs. We are now dealing with sounds in single syllables formed by the combination of two distinct-sounding vowels.

If you are clear about what diphthongs are, and can make a distinction between digraphs and diphthongs, then let’s list the diphthongs we have in Twi. Just like we did with the Twi digraphs, we will give some word examples of each diphthong.

List of Twi Diphthongs

DiphthongTwi WordEnglish
/ie/efie

 

tie

home

 

listen (verb)

/ia/owia

 

pia

sun

push (verb)

/ue/

bue

pue

open (verb)

exit (verb)

/oɔ/

ɔbɔmɔf

adamf

hunter

friend

/ea/

kyea

ayaresabea

greet

hospital

/uo/

afuo

ekuo

farm (noun)

group

/eɛ/

mf

nnma

years

things

/ei/

yei

Kyei

this

an Akan name

/ua/

sua

tua

learn

pay (verb)

/oa/

boa

soa

help (verb)

carry

/ae/

kae

pae

remember

break e.g. a bottle (verb)

We end here. Do go over the list a couple of times as you did with the digraphs. Preferably, watch the embedded video lesson and try to repeat each of the sounds as I do. When you feel confident about the accuracy of your pronunciation, head on to the next lesson.

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