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>
>Mostly true.  But in some speakers, including myself, there are a few
>words that don't follow the pattern.  For example, I use [VI] in
>"fire", where it is not followed by a voiceless consonant.  However, I
>use [aI] in "wire" and most or all other "-ire" words, so "fire" and
>"wire" etc. don't rhyme in my speech.  I've also observed informally
>that Canadians who use [VI] in "fire" can hear the difference between
>[VI] and [aI] fairly easily, while those who use [aI] in "fire" usually
>can't ear the difference.


I didn't know that it was phonemic for anyone.  Interesting, but perhaps
not surprising.

I suppose this goes to show that if one wants to cover *all* phonemes of
English down to the idiolectal level, it's going to be running into the
hundreds at least......

Ian