Word of the day

The word for today is…

diphthong (noun) – A complex speech sound or glide that begins with one vowel and gradually changes to another vowel within the same syllable, as (oi) in boil or (ī) in fine.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : “A union of two vowels pronounced in one syllable,” late 15th century, diptonge, from Late Latin diphthongus, from Greek diphthongos “having two sounds,” from di- “double” (from PIE root *dwo- “two”) + phthongos “sound, voice,” which is related to phthengesthai “to utter a sound, sound, raise one’s voice, call, talk,” which Beekes reports as of “no certain etymology. None of the existing connections with semantically comparable words … is phonetically convincing.”

In uttering a proper diphthong both vowels are pronounced; the sound is not simple, but the two sounds are so blended as to be considered as forming one syllable, as in joy, noise, bound, out. An “improper” diphthong is not a diphthong at all, being merely a collocation of two or more vowels in the same syllable, of which only one is sounded, as ea in breach, eo in people, ai in rain, eau in beau. [Century Dictionary]


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Peter is a fourth-generation New Zealander, with his mother’s and father’s folks having arrived in New Zealand in the 1870s. He lives in Lower Hutt with his wife, three cats and assorted computers.

His work history has been in the timber, banking and real estate industries, and he’s now enjoying retirement. He has been interested in computers for over thirty years and is a strong advocate for free open source software. He is chairman of the SeniorNet Hutt City committee.

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