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Eric Christopherson wrote:
> This is something that's been bugging me for a while: My phonetics textbook
> says that in English /i:/ and /u:/ are [iy] and [uw], respectively. It claims
> that these are diphthongs, and the second element is a glide. But how can
> you glide from one sound to the same sound? I thought a glide had to be
> something different from the other vowel (like [ai]), and it's my
> understanding that [y] and [w] are for practical purposes the equivalent to
> [i] and [u], respectively. What gives?

Well, /j/ is not exactly the same as /i/, at least, not in my speech.
[j] is a bit tenser, a bit more closed, than [i], and /i/ is actually
[ij], there is a very slight movement in the tongue, same notes apply
for [u] and [w].  You may have that, too, it's just very hard to
notice.  I didn't believe it at first, but then when I very carefully
listened to it, I noticed the slight movement, as well as realizing that
/j/ could be drawn out without sounding like /i/.

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