Posted By Vadim on 24 Nov 2010 07:04 AM
Could you please give simple definitions of 'closeness' and 'backness'?Is 'closeness' about how low the jaw is?Is 'backness' about how distant the tongue is from the teeth?
The following diagrams are highly simplified and stylised representations...
Remember that the labels high-low and front-back should not be taken as descriptions of tongue positions....Students of phonetics often ask why we use terms like high, low, back and front if we are simply labeling auditory qualities and not describing tongue positions. The answer is that it is largely a matter of tradition. For many years phoneticians though they were describing tongue positions when they used these terms to specify vowel quality. But there is only a rough correspondence between the traditional descriptions in terms of tongue positions and the actual auditory qualities of vowels.
P.S. I thought that 'sound height' may be a littlte confusing for Russian students. 'Height' and 'Pitch' are both translated as 'высота'. So it may be taken as 'sound pitch'.)