Definition: Diphthong is a linguistic term used to describe the particular sound made when we combine certain vowels together. When using diphthongs in linguistics, the sound of the second vowel overtakes the sound of the first vowel immediately next to it.
Common examples of diphthongs in the English language include the vowel combinations of “ou” and “oy.” In this example, we find the word “out” to take on the sound of the letter “u” in the first example. The same linguistic behavior is present in the word “boy,” where the letter “o” takes on the sound of the letter “y.”
Etymology: The first recorded use of the word diphthong was in the early 15th century. Since its inception, they have always used the meaning of the term as a linguistic reference. They used the word in Middle English as diptonge or diptongue. In Latin, it was diphthongus. Greeks also used the word diphthongos as a representation of voice or sound.
In a Sentence
You can barely detect diphthongs in some monosyllabic words, but they are present.
Diphthongs are one of the greatest mysteries in modern language.
The teacher taught the students how to use diphthongs in English class.
More common diphthongs are found in British English due to differences in spelling, one such example would be Anaesthetic or Haematology. In American English, “ unnecessary “ vowels tend to be discarded all together.