For me, as a speaker of north-western English English, phonemic quantity distinctions are very much part of the system. I'm very much aware of them. Here are a few contrasts I spontaneously came up with. /a/ "pat" ~ /a:/ "part" /E/ "bed" ~ /E:/ "bared", "bares" ~ /e:/ "bays" /I/ "bid" ~ /I:/ "beard" ~ /i:/ "bead" /Q/ "cot" ~ /Q:/ "caught" ~ /o:/ "coat" Dan From: Of R A Brown Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 6:57 PM Daniel Prohaska wrote: > No, there's no contrast with /A:/ because */A/ doesn't exist. If there's no contrast then [:] cannot surely be _phonemic_. > /Q/ does, though. I am aware of that - I've been speaking southern British English for more than 60 years! But I fail to see how that is relevant to whether we have /A/ ~ /A:/ or not. > But vocalic length itself is distinguished in EE, e.g. between /E/ > and /E:/ in /bEd/ <bed> vs. /bE:d/ <bared> I think not - there's certainly a _qualitative_ difference in the way I say it (and I speak a normal non-rhotic SE England variety). In any case, to give [:] phonemic status because of this pair only seems weak to me. > (though this could also be analysed as /bE@d/). It could, and sometimes is. I have also seen it analyzed as [log in to unmask] But I am not over fond of such analyses either as it means that we posit one set of phonemes for non-rhotic varieties and a different set of phonemes for English speakers in south-west England and among the rural dialects of the Midlands and several parts of southern England with r-colored/ rhotic vowels (i.e. /bE`d/ or /be`d/. It also means that we have to have yet a *third* set of phonemes for those speakers in much of Wales and in the Scottish Highlands who actually have a apically trilled consonant in _bared_, i.e. /berd/. As all these dialect variants are _predictable_, it does not seem to me sensible to be setting three different _phonemic_ realizations of the |r| in _bared_ - indeed, unless I have completely misunderstood the phonemic theory, I would have thought it was wrong to do so. > Vocalic length is systematic, anyway, so it makes sense to transcribe EE with /:/. I don't understand what you mean by the first clause, and - as you see above - I do not agree with the second clause. > /A:/ though it doesn't contrast with */A/ falls > into the "long vowel" category. It certainly does.