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Mark J. Reed wrote:

>Interesting!
>
>
>
>>   The words 'hut' and 'heart', for example, are distinguised only by the
>>   duration of the 'ah' sound.
>>
>>
>
>In what dialect of English is the vowel of <hut> the same as the vowel
>of <heart>?  Even in non-rhotic dialects where the latter is something
>like [ha:t] I would expect the former to be either [hVt] or [hUt], not
>[hat].
>
>
>

Indeed.  'heart' is [hA:t] in RP, and 'hut' is [hVt](Northerners use [hUt]).