Entry from British & World English dictionary
Definition of cardinal vowel in English:
Each of a series of vowel sounds used as a standard reference point to assist in the description and classification of vowel sounds in any language.
- Leave it to the IPA to reserve the usual print glyph for ‘a’ for a cardinal vowel sound that is hardly ever used in any language.
- The primary and secondary cardinal vowels are often referred to by a number as well as by their symbols.
- The links at the bottom of this section are to diagrams of acoustic data plotted onto cardinal vowel charts.
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