Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> On 3/28/06, Tristan Alexander McLeay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Wikipedia writes /E/ for short e and suggests that [e] exists, at
> > least, as an allophone of /e:/. Would you consider that an
> > exaggeration?
> I think that's possible. Short forms of the "normally long" vowels
> occur, though I think mostly or only in pretonic syllables of loan
> words.
> For example, "Telefon" is (for me) ['te:l@fo:n] but "telefonisch" is
> [tel@'fo:nIS]; the [e:] turned into [e]. I'd say they're the same
> phoneme, though. (Again, though, the short allophone is, I think,
> restricted to borrowings.)

Exactly.  I've seen half-long diacritics for these unstressed long
vowels that are reduced to (almost) short duration.  I think that's
what the Wikipedia means here.

> > (In any case, it seems to me that if a language has both
> > /e:/ and /E:/, and a short equivalent of both that's pronounced [E],
> > the logical phonemic representation of it would be /E/. Is there any
> > particular reason why you don't?)
> I consider the short phoneme to be /E/ -- considering |Bett| [bEt]
> as /bet/ seems a bit odd. Perhaps /e/ is simply for ease of writing?
> In the end, as long as the assignment of symbols to phonemes is
> unambiguous, it doesn't really matter which symbols you use.

I mainly use /e/ becaues there are other mid-close vowels with
short-long pairs, but only one mid-open long vowel /E:/.  Therefore,
for symmetry, I use:

   /o:/ vs. /o/
   /2:/ vs. /2/

And also:
   /e:/ vs. /e/

And an additional phoneme pair would be /E:/ vs */E/, but */E/ is the
same as /e/, so we don't need that.

Of course, you could write all short phonemes consistently in their
lax variant (i.e. /o:/ vs /O/ etc.), but then the [+-length] property
would not be highlighted as much as I think it should be.

> And you may know this already, but /E:/ is a marginal phoneme for some
> Germans, including me; it's nearly always realised as [e:], except in
> very careful speech.


Relay 13 is online: