A vowel is a sound that we make by vibrating our vocal cords and changing the shapes of our mouth, jaw, and tongue, while not interrupting the flow of air. This is different than consonants, which are formed by interfering with the flow of air in order to make a consonant sound. Additionally, vowels are more sonorous, or are made with more energy, than consonants.
Common estimates of vowels for American English are from 14 to 16.
If we count 16 vowels total, these vowels are: