A vowel is a syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of the other being the consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and in quantity, they are voiced, are involved in prosodic variation such as tone and stress. The word vowel comes from the Latin word vocalis, meaning "vocal". In English, the word vowel is used to refer both to vowel sounds and to the written symbols that represent them. There are two complementary definitions of one phonetic and the other phonological. In the phonetic definition, a vowel is a sound, such as the English "ah" or "oh", produced with an open vocal tract. There is no significant build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis; this contrasts with consonants, such as the English "sh", which have a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract. In the phonological definition, a vowel is defined as syllabic, the sound that forms the peak of a syllable. A phonetically equivalent but non-syllabic sound is a semivowel.

In oral languages, phonetic vowels form the peak of many or all syllables, whereas consonants form the onset and coda. Some languages allow other sounds to form the nucleus of a syllable, such as the syllabic l in the English word table or the syllabic r in the Serbo-Croatian word vrt "garden"; the phonetic definition of "vowel" does not always match the phonological definition. The approximants and illustrate this: both are without much of a constriction in the vocal tract, but they occur at the onset of syllables which suggests that phonologically they are consonants. A similar debate arises over whether a word like bird in a rhotic dialect has an r-colored vowel /ɝ/ or a syllabic consonant /ɹ̩/; the American linguist Kenneth Pike suggested the terms "vocoid" for a phonetic vowel and "vowel" for a phonological vowel, so using this terminology, are classified as vocoids but not vowels. However and Emmory demonstrated from a range of languages that semivowels are produced with a narrower constriction of the vocal tract than vowels, so may be considered consonants on that basis.

Nonetheless, the phonetic and phonemic definitions would still conflict for the syllabic /l/ in table, or the syllabic nasals in button and rhythm. The traditional view of vowel production, reflected for example in the terminology and presentation of the International Phonetic Alphabet, is one of articulatory features that determine a vowel's quality as distinguishing it from other vowels. Daniel Jones developed the cardinal vowel system to describe vowels in terms of the features of tongue height, tongue backness and roundedness; these three parameters are indicated in the schematic quadrilateral IPA vowel diagram on the right. There are additional features of vowel quality, such as the velum position, type of vocal fold vibration, tongue root position; this conception of vowel articulation has been known to be inaccurate since 1928. Peter Ladefoged has said that "early phoneticians... thought they were describing the highest point of the tongue, but they were not. They were describing formant frequencies."

The IPA Handbook concedes that "the vowel quadrilateral must be regarded as an abstraction and not a direct mapping of tongue position."Nonetheless, the concept that vowel qualities are determined by tongue position and lip rounding continues to be used in pedagogy, as it provides an intuitive explanation of how vowels are distinguished. Vowel height is named for the vertical position of the tongue relative to either the roof of the mouth or the aperture of the jaw. However, it refers to the first formant, abbreviated F1, associated with the height of the tongue. In close vowels known as high vowels, such as and, the first formant is consistent with the tongue being positioned close to the palate, high in the mouth, whereas in open vowels known as low vowels, such as, F1 is consistent with the jaw being open and the tongue being positioned low in the mouth. Height is defined by the inverse of the F1 value: The higher the frequency of the first formant, the lower the vowel; the International Phonetic Alphabet defines seven degrees of vowel height, but no language is known to distinguish all of them without distinguishing another attribute: close near-close close-mid mid open-mid near-open open The letters are used for either close-mid or true-mid vowels.

However, if more precision is required, true-mid vowels may be written with a lowering diacritic. The Kensiu language, spoken in Malaysia and Thailand, is unusual in that it contrasts true-mid with close-mid and open-mid vowels, without any difference in other parameters like backness or roundness, it appears that some varieties of German have five vowel heights that contrast independently of length or other parameters. The Bavarian dialect of Amstetten has thirteen long vowels, which can be analyzed as distinguishing five heights (close, close-mid, ope

Thomas Lucy

Sir Thomas Lucy was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1571 and 1585. He is best known for his links to William Shakespeare; as a Protestant activist he came into conflict with Shakespeare's Catholic relatives, there are stories that the young Shakespeare himself had clashes with him. Thomas Lucy was the eldest son and heir of William Lucy of Charlecote near Stratford-on-Avon and Anne Fermer, the daughter of Richard Fermer of Easton Neston, Northamptonshire, his paternal grandparents were Sir Thomas Lucy and Elizabeth Empson, the daughter of Richard Empson, one of Henry VII's chief ministers. The family were descended from the Norman de Lucys. Lucy rebuilt the house of Charlecote Park in red brick in 1558. In 1565 he was knighted by the queen's favourite, Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, at the queen's behest. In 1571, Lucy was elected Member of Parliament for Warwickshire. Queen Elizabeth herself visited Charlecote Park in 1572. Lucy was a loyal supporter of an ardent Protestant.

John Foxe, who had witnessed the persecution of Protestants under Queen Mary, had been a tutor in the Lucy household in around 1547. Following the plot by John Somerville against the life of Queen Elizabeth in 1582, the arrest of Edward Arden as a conspirator, Lucy raided homes of the Arden family to whom Shakespeare was related. Lucy arrested and interrogated Catholic families in the area after the missionary activities of the Jesuit, Edmund Campion. In 1584 there was a dispute between Ananias Nason, one of Lucy's servants, Hamnet Sadler, a friend of Shakespeare. Lucy arbitrated in the matter. Lucy was re-elected MP for Warwickshire in 1585. According to tradition the young Shakespeare wrote a lampoon of Lucy at some point in the mid 1580s; this either led to his prudent departure from the area. There are versions of a local ballad mocking Lucy's name and another suggesting his wife was unfaithful. Both were written down by collectors in the late 17th century; the former turns "Lucy" into "lousy", A parliament member, a justice of peace, At home a poor scarecrow, at London an ass, If lousy is Lucy as some folks miscall it Then Lucy is lousy whatever befall it.

Edmond Malone noted a different ballad ridiculing Lucy's marriage, still being sung in Stratford c. 1687–90 when Joshua Barnes heard it and wrote it down. There is no evidence that Shakespeare ballad. Another story, first recorded by Richard Davies in the late 17th century, is that the young Shakespeare was involved in poaching from Lucy's estate. Davies wrote, "Shakespeare was much given to all unluckiness in stealing venison and rabbits from Sir ----- Lucy who oft had him whipped and sometimes imprisoned and at last mad him fly his native country to his great advancement." The story was related by Shakespeare's first biographer, Nicholas Rowe, who links it to the ballad: For this he was prosecuted by that Gentleman, as he thought, somewhat too severely. And tho' this the first Essay of his Poetry, be lost, yet it is said to have been so bitter, that it redoubled the Prosecution against him to that degree, that he was oblig'd to leave his Business and Family in Warwickshire, for some time, shelter himself in London.

There are no surviving legal records to prove or disprove the poaching incident, or the ballad incident. The poaching story became popular in the Victorian period, appearing in many illustrations and paintings. In 1834 Walter Savage Landor published Citation and Examination of William Shakespeare, one of his "Imaginary Conversations", presented as the record of Shakespeare's examination by Lucy. Lucy is portrayed as a "mildly pretentious" figure, "longing for the good old days when classes knew their place"; the story has been objected to on the grounds that there were no deer being kept in Charlecote until after Shakespeare's death. Edmond Malone wrote that Lucy did not own a park at this time and that it would have been illegal to keep deer outside a licensed deer park. John Semple Smart and Edgar Innes Fripp tried to disprove the story by arguing that Lucy could not have kept deer in the 1580s. Samuel Schoenbaum, noted that Lucy had a "free warren", which would have supported rabbits, hares and other birds, along with larger animals—which could have included roe-deer.

Shakespeare is sometimes thought to have satirised Lucy with the character of Justice Shallow, who appears in Henry IV, Part 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor. The latter play seems to contain jokes about Lucy's name similar to the "lousy" ballad, when Shallow and his dim-witted relative Slender discuss the "luces" in their coat of arms, which unintentionally becomes lice-ridden when this is misinterpreted as a "dozen white louses". Lucy's coat of arms contained "luces"; the theory dates back to c.1688-1700, as part of Davies's comments that Lucy "oft had him whipped and sometimes imprisoned". He goes on, "his revenge is so great that he is his Justice Clodpate, calls him a great man and that in allusion to his name bore three louses rampant for his Arms". Samuel Schoenbaum says. Shoenbaum asks why Shakespeare would risk offending "well placed friends of a man who had done the state some service"; the fact that the evidence for the alleged parody of Lucy is confined to the Merry Wives suggests that the character was not invented with Lucy in mind.

"Lucy was, in physical form, social condition and personality, nothing like Shallow" as described in Henry IV, Part 2. Leslie Hotson argues that the satire in Merry W

Oleg Strekalov

Oleg Strekalov is a Russian journalist and former proprietor of Chekhov Vid, an independent media organization in the Russian municipality of Chekhov in the Moscow Region. Strekalov worked as a journalist in Ukraine, his articles published in popular Ukrainian media including The Focus and The Correspondent. Between 2011 and 2014 he was a member of the Union of Russian Journalists. Strekalov created the media holding company Chekov Vid, which included a news channel, the newspaper Read All and an internet portal. In 2005, he led the construction of the ice palace in Chekhov, for which he was awarded the title of "Honored Builder of the Moscow Region" by the Governor of the Moscow Region Boris Gromov. In the village of Yakshino, Chekhov district, he rebuilt the church of the Georgian Mother of God and built a parish school there. In 2017 Strekalov founded the Strekalov Media Justice Foundation to promote independent journalism and to help those like himself defend themselves against state intervention In 2014, for financial assistance to the parishes of the Chekhov Deanery, he was awarded Patriarch Kirill