Specializations > Phonetics and Phonology

Does the short & long vowels differ only in duration?


Hi All, I have a question about the difference between short and long vowel. DO they differ only in the duration of utterance, or there are any other distinctive qualities ?

It depends on which language you are asking about. In American and British English there are quality differences that go with quantity differences, likewise Arabic and Dogri. Indian English is different enough that I just do not know (I don;t even know how uniform Indian English is). In Luganda and Japanese, there are quantity differences with the same quality, and in Akan there are quality differences without quantify differences; then in Dinka there are completely independent quantity and quality differences.

As far as I understand it, they usually do differ in quality, not just in duration. In Classical Latin, for example, they differed primarily in duration, but, in most dialects, they also differed slightly in quality. At some point, all Latin dialects lost the distinction in quantity (duration). However, all of them, except in Sardinia and African Romance, preserved some distinction in quality.

Inferring that a pattern is usual based on just Latin and its descendants is invalid. It is invalid to say that stress is usually towards the penult because it is so in Latin and descendants.


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