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The question you raise seems to revolve around the differences between
(e.g.) [i,o]/[i,jo]/[jo] and [u,o]/[u,wo]/[wo]. Given that the articulution
of [i]/[j] and [u]/[w] is close to identical, I wonder if difference these
variants would be distinguishable by very many speakers.

I wouldn't make this argument about combinations like EO or OA, by the way,
where an "inaudibile" [j] or [w] transitional glide is likely to be all too
audible to non-anglophone ears. But the case of [i] and [u] seems different.

Cheers,

Chris