Vowels can’t be described in the same way as consonants. For vowels, there’s always considerable space between the articulators, so that in terms of manner of articulation all vowels are approximants. Nor can we effectively use place of articulation – all we can do is distinguish broadly whether the front, centre or back of the tongue is raised towards the roof of the mouth. Finally, our third variable (voicing or energy of articulation) is of little help. Vowels are typically voiced, so that there are no voiced/ voiceless or fortis/lenis contrasts.