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OK, since there is definately a difference other than length between the
vowel in school/cool/fool/tool versus could/book/wool/woman, I shall
henceforth use [w:] for the former and [u] for the latter. Any
objections?

> I'm not sure what you mean by tightness. If you refering to
> aperture, then I'd say that I haven't detected any difference in
> aperture between these two vowel sounds. Perhaps its a dialectal
> thing.

Here's a minimal pair for you: 'could' [kud] vs 'cooled' [kw:ld].

> >> >> For instance, words like "no/know" get rendered as
> >> >> [no-y].

I really want to hear [y] and [U] next to each other because I'm quite
convinced that I *cannot* tell the difference between Australian /u/ and
that of most other English dialects I've heard. But I agree with you that
the vowel is fronted if I understand the term correctly.

Can you name other English dialects in which [y] is used?

> >>      Phoneme   Australian    American
> >>        /u/       [u-y]       [Uw]~[u:]
> >>        /U/        [u]           [U]
> >>        /o/       [o-y]         [ow]
> >>      (where: [u-] and [o-] are centralized vowels)
>
> No... more like _moon_, _GOOD_, and _code_.
>
> >The biggest problem I have with the above is that you've got
> >/u/ as a diphthong. Well, depending on what the previous
> >consonant is, there might indeed be a neutral vowel ([@]
> >AFAICT) emitted whilst the mouth moves from the consonant to
> >the /u/. For a consonant like 'm' from which the lips must
> >first move up before they move out, this is particularly
> >likely. But fundamentally, the Australian /u/ is not a
> >diphthong.
>
> Perhaps its a dialectal thing? I've always heard a diphthong there.

Definately no diphthong. One thing worth mentioning: the more 'educated'
the social dialect, the less prominent the transitional schwa
that sometimes appears before certain vowels. In 'broad' Australian
dialects, it's *very* prominent.

For now, I'll accept:

/u/    [y:]~[U:]
/U/    [u]
/o/    [o-y]~[o-U]

> >No linguistics department. Only a languages department. I
> >believe all the phoneticians are in the speech pathology and
> >audiology department in the school of medicine.
>
> Oooh... what a shame. I wonder if there are online sources that
> have recordings of Dan Jones. I do know that Peter Ladefoged (a
> famous phonetician) has an online tutorial with recordings somewhere
> out there. All you need is a search engine.

And a sound card.

(Which I do have, but not on the same computer that has internet access.)

-----------------
Australian vowels
-----------------

mat    = [b&t]
mad    = [m&:d]
mate   = [m&it]
might  = [mait]
met    = [met]
nit    = [nIt]
neat   = [ni:t]
not    = [nOt]
gone   = [gO:n]
note   = [no-yt]
who    = [hy:]
nook   = [nuk]
fool   = [fw:l]
bottle = [bOtl:]
mutt   = [mat]
March  = [ma:tS]
murk   = [mR:k]
air    = [e:@]
ear    = [i:@]

Have I missed anything?

-------------
Uncertainties
-------------

* I think the diphthong in _noun_/_vowel_ is between [aw] & [&w]
* I don't know the vowel in _gnaw_. Similar to Scottish pron. of _no_.

----------
Variations
----------

* For _fault_, I (and most people) say [fOwt], but my father says [fl:t].
* Most people here say [gew] for _girl_, but I say [gRl].
  Likewise [wR:ld] for _world_.

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