A vowel is a sound generated with an open vocal tract, such as the English "ah" / or "oh" /o/; it is median (air escapes along the middle of the tongue), oral (at least some of the airflow must leave via the mouth), frictionless, and continuous.

Other English accents may have a varying number of vowel sounds, although English contains about 20 distinct vowel phonemes in general. As a result, it has one of the most complicated vowel systems of any language.

An open sound is represented by a vowel, which is a letter. In the English language, there are six vowels: a, e, I o, u, and y. The letter Y is sometimes a vowel, like in the word narrative, but it can also be a consonant, as in the word yes. Vowels indicate voice sounds that are open and frictionless.

Vowel sounds that are uttered in a short form are known as short vowels. The short vowel sounds in RP English are 'pet', 'pot', 'put', 'putt', 'pat', and 'pit', as well as the schwa sound. Long vowel sounds can be likened to them.

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