Clipping (phonetics)
Get Clipping Phonetics essential facts below. View Videos or join the Clipping Phonetics discussion. Add Clipping Phonetics to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Clipping Phonetics

In phonetics, clipping is the process of shortening the articulation of a phonetic segment, usually a vowel. A clipped vowel is pronounced more quickly than an unclipped vowel and is often also reduced.



Particularly in Netherlands Dutch, vowels in unstressed syllables are shortened and centralized, which is particularly noticeable with tense vowels; compare the /o:/ phoneme in konijn 'rabbit' and koning 'king'.

In weak forms of words, e.g. naar and voor, the vowel is frequently centralized: [n?:r, v?:r] (the latter approaching veur, a dialectal form found in Low Saxon and Limburgish dialects), though further reduction to [n?, v?] or [nr?, vr?] is possible in rapid colloquial speech.[1]


Many dialects of English (such as Australian English, General American English, Received Pronunciation, South African English and Standard Canadian English) have two types of non-phonemic clipping: pre-fortis clipping and rhythmic clipping.

The first type occurs in a stressed syllable before a fortis consonant, so that e.g. bet ['b?t] has a vowel that is shorter than the one in bed ['bd]. Vowels preceding voiceless consonants that begin a next syllable (as in keychain /'ki:.t?e?n/) are not affected by this rule.[2]

Rhythmic clipping occurs in polysyllabic words. The more syllables a word has, the shorter its vowels are and so the first vowel of readership is shorter than in reader, which, in turn, is shorter than in read.[2][3]

Clipping with vowel reduction also occurs in many unstressed syllables.

Because of the variability of vowel length, the ⟨:⟩ diacritic is sometimes omitted in IPA transcriptions of English and so words such as dawn or lead are transcribed as /d?n/ and /lid/, instead of the more usual /d?:n/ and /li:d/. Neither type of transcription is more correct, as both convey exactly the same information, but transcription systems that use the length mark make it more clear whether a vowel is checked or free. Compare the length of the RP vowel /?/ in the word not as opposed to the corresponding /?/ in Canadian English, which is typically longer (like RP /?:/) because Canadian /?/ is a free vowel (checked /?/ is very rare in North America, as it relies on a three-way distinction between LOT, THOUGHT and PALM) and so can also be transcribed as /?:/.

The Scottish vowel length rule is used instead of those rules in Scotland and sometimes also in Northern Ireland.


Many speakers of Serbo-Croatian from Croatia and Serbia pronounce historical unstressed long vowels as short, with some exceptions (such as genitive plural endings). Therefore, the name Jadranka is pronounced [jâdra?ka], rather than [jâdra:?ka].[4]

See also


  1. ^ Collins & Mees, pp. 227, 240.
  2. ^ a b Wells (2008), p. 155.
  3. ^ Wells, John C. (2006). "Lecture 3: The vowel system; clipping" (PDF). Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Alexander (2006), p. 356.


  • Alexander, Ronelle (2006), Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian - A Grammar with Sociolinguistic Commentary, The University of Wisconsin Press, ISBN 978-0-299-21194-3
  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003) [First published 1981], The Phonetics of English and Dutch (5th ed.), Leiden: Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004103406
  • Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, ISBN 9781405881180

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes