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pne (661)

pne
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http://pne.livejournal.com/

Honourary london.pm member and involuntarily prolific poster. Self-taught Perl hacker. Language geek.

Journal of pne (661)

Wednesday February 20, 2002
02:57 AM

English phonetics

[ #2984 ]

Today, while practising English verbs with my wife, I remembered something I had read somewhere -- that English distinguishes word-final voiced consonants not so much by the voicing but by the length of the vowel.

And when I think about it and consider minimal pairs such as bag and back, or send and sent, the word ending in a voiced consonant does have a considerably longer vowel sound. Yet I never used to think about it and thought the only difference was in the voicing of the consonant.

Perhaps something to think about for people such as Russian and German speakers who devoice final voiced consonants -- if they lengthen the vowel properly it might make up for their difficulty in voicing the consonant.

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  • I think the difference is duration on the vowel is most noticeable with stops.

    Also, in my dialect (Los Angeles English), /og/ and /ok/ (with short o's) end up realized rather differently: "log" and "lock" sound almost like "lawg" versus "lahk"-verging-on-"lack".

    May dialects also have weird rules about how a long /i/ is affected by a following voiced or voiceless consonant. In my dialect it's pretty clear: uh-y before voiceless, ah-y before voiced. But it's quite different here in New Mexico: one seems t