Chapter 2 presents the five vowels /a, i, u, e, o/ and their corresponding long vowels in Tôkyô Japanese, with a look at other modern dialectal systems and the ancient Kyôto language. The special status of the high vowels /i/ and /u/, which undergo frequent elisions or insertions, and are the locus of devoicing, a phenomenon of major relevance in the phonology of Japanese, is discussed in detail. This chapter also provides a detailed description of prosodic lengthening and shortening, and proposes a discussion and analysis on the status of the so-called diphthongs.
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