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    Long or short vowel/help

    Forum > English only || Bottom

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    Long or short vowel/help
    Message from zhaows posted on 21-11-2022 at 12:11:17 (D | E | F)
    Hello

    I am now an English learner and a teacher in China. I have a question in my studying in English as below:

    There are so many words of two syllables which the first syllable of which is opening - there aren't any consonants after the vowels:

    Jason, baby, basic, data, evil, idol, open, photo, unit, cubic……their first syllables are long vowels in pronunciation.
    But some are short, like: acid, panel, edit, chemist, river, polish, proper etc.

    My question is: Do you have any idea about this kind of two syllable words in distinguishing them in a rapid method to tell me that which one is long or short.
    I hope a regularity rule I can obey it.
    Thanks.
    I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    ------------------
    Edited by lucile83 on 21-11-2022 15:41
    grey



    Re: Long or short vowel/help from traviskidd, posted on 21-11-2022 at 20:17:59 (D | E)
    Hello zhaows.

    Unfortunately there is no rule that makes it clear just from the word whether its first vowel is long or short. It might be helpful to note that, when the vowel is long, it sometimes comes from a root word with a silent e at the end, for example: base -> basic; cube -> cubic. So if you can find such a root word, then you can guess that the vowel is probably long.

    However, as with Chinese (although not to the same extent), how a word is written offers little guidance on how to pronounce it. Pronunciations must simply be learned when the word is learned.

    Note that if a vowel is long, it usually represents the end of a syllable, whereas when it is short the syllable usually includes the following consonant: Ja-son, but chem-ist.

    Also note that words with the same pattern can differ in pronunciation (for example: love, cove, and move) while words with different patterns can rhyme: (for example: herd, bird, word).

    Furthermore, there are homographs whose pronunciation depends on their meaning, for example the verb "live" (to have life) and the adverb "live" (happening now, not previously recorded). The verb "polish" (make clean and shiny) and the adjective "Polish" (associated with Poland).

    Finally, sometimes both the long and short vowel are acceptable alternatives for the same word (perhaps depending on the country): divIsive, dAta, futIle

    See you.



    Re: Long or short vowel/help from zhaows, posted on 23-11-2022 at 16:08:04 (D | E)
    Thank you for your kindly reply Traviskidd. your answer is really valuable for me. I will study continuously as I have been studding this for several years in order to write a book or a course. thanks a lot!

    see you.



    Re: Long or short vowel/help from gerondif, posted on 24-11-2022 at 17:27:33 (D | E)
    Hello
    This is what we used to learn at university :
    a vowel between two consonants will be pronounced at its face value. a short vowel sound.
    cat, fat, mat :
    sit, fit, fin :
    box, shot, sob, log :
    put, pull,
    sun, fun, sum,

    If you "double-lock" the single vowel with two consonants behind it, then it remains a short sound, at its face value.
    mat, matter, sit, sitter, fat, fatter, sob, sobbing, put, putting, sun, sunny, fun, funny.

    But if you have behind that vowel just one consonant followed by another vowel, an e or an i for example, then, the vowel sound sort of explodes, expands into a double sound called a diphtong.
    (I would make a difference between a short a (cat) a long a (arm, far, start, last) and the diphtong (ace, fate, lame )

    Cat becomes Kate
    Mat becomes mate
    sit becomes site
    John becomes Jones
    sob but sofa
    sum is different from fumes, assume

    But you probably know all of that.

    It explains why we have to double-lock vowels in comparatives (fatter), superlatives (fattest) ing forms (he is sobbing) preterites in ed or past participles (he logged in, he has banned them ).

    Some of your words fit into this system :
    Jason, baby, basic, data, evil, idol, open, photo, unit, cubic……their first syllables are long vowels (or diphtongs) in pronunciation. Only one consonant behind them followed by a vowel.

    I only had one lesson in linguistics during my first year in English at university, a sample lesson if case we should decide to register for that course. That was in 1971. I still remember the demonstration the teacher made about the following pronunciations :
    a photograph : UK: */ˈfəʊtəgrɑːf/US:/ˈfoʊtəˌgræf/ ,(fō′tə graf′, -gräf′) stress first syllabe
    a photographer : UK: */fəˈtɒgrəfər/US: (fə tog′rə fər) stress second syllabe because words ending in er are stressed 001 (three syllabes from the end)
    photographic. UK: */ˌfəʊtəˈgræfɪk/US:/ˌfoʊtəˈgræfɪk/ ,(fō′tə graf′ik ) stress third syllabe because words ending in ic are stressed 01 (the syllabe before last)
    Photography : UK: */fəˈtɒgrəfi/US:/fəˈtɑgrəfi/ ,(fə tog′rə fē ) stress on the second syllabe, words ending in y are stressed 001 (geology, botany)
    a photo : UK: */ˈfəʊtəʊ/ US: /ˈfoʊtoʊ/ ,(fō′tō) abbreviation. Both syllabes were stressed [ft]

    But some are short, like: acid, panel, edit, chemist, river, polish, proper etc.
    I must admit that for those, I don't have an explanation, which is also your problem. Maybe it comes from the prononciation these words had in the langage they were borrowed from...
    Why ace but acid ?
    Why alive but liver (maybe the ver ending, as in river but you will say a diver, a fiver , so I can't find a solid rule here)
    Why pane but panel ?
    The e is never pronounced , it stays short : fed, federal...
    The Poles will give Polish which is different from shoe-polish

    I guess some pronunciations have to be learnt together with the word when you meet them.
    Sorry I can't be of more use !



    Re: Long or short vowel/help from sherry48, posted on 24-11-2022 at 18:30:28 (D | E)
    Hello.
    I think that gerondif's suggestion - maybe it is related to the language words were borrowed from - is likely the answer. Many words revert to English phonetic rules when they are borrowed from another language, but not always. Acid comes from Latin (acere, acidus) and remained a single consonant. So I looked up the origin of a couple other words. The word cabin, derived from capanna (Latin) became cabin, without doubling the consonant. Bobbin comes from bobine (French) but follows the English double-consonant rule. On the other hand, robin, although it rhymes with bobbin, doesn't follow the rule. I learned that Robin was a nickname for Robert, borrowed from French. It is likely that since Robert has one b, robin also does, and it never changed.
    Sherry



    Re: Long or short vowel/help from zhaows, posted on 28-11-2022 at 09:45:20 (D | E)
    Hello!

    so appreciated for your quickly and kindly replies to my question. They are so valuable for my studdying.
    Many thanks for to you. I'll read them seriously and treat them like treasures.

    ------------------
    Edited by lucile83 on 28-11-2022 15:01
    grey




    Re: Long or short vowel/help from gerondif, posted on 28-11-2022 at 14:59:42 (D | E)
    Hello
    You're welcome.
    Remember that an adjective applies to a noun and an adverb to a verb.
    Thank you for answering so quickly and kindly.
    Thank you for your quick and kind replies.



    Re: Long or short vowel/help from traviskidd, posted on 29-11-2022 at 06:49:00 (D | E)

    Hello. I would just reiterate that the terms "long" and "short" in relation to vowels are phonological, and do not refer to how much time is spent pronouncing the vowel.

    "Cat" has the short A, "Kate" has the long A. (There is also what I call the "European A" as in "father", but "rather" has the short A.)
    "Met" has the short E, "meet" has the long E. (The long E could be considered the European I, as in "unique", but this isn't necessary)
    "Lit" has the short I, "light" the long.
    "Hop" has the short O, "hope" the long. (In the US, the short O is the same as the European A, so that "bother" rhymes with "father".)
    "Good" has the short OO, "food" the long.
    "Under" has the short U, "unite" the long. (In fact the long U = Y + long OO)

    Sometimes vowels are pronounced with a different vowel than what is written, for example:
    "Love" is pronounced with the short U
    "Move" is pronounced with the long OO
    And of course famously:
    The "o" in "woman" is pronounced with the short OO, but the "o" in "women" is the short I!

    See you.

    ------------------
    Edited by lucile83 on 29-11-2022 13:09
    British English is accepted in the exams, American English is not.
    Please don't mislead students or other people.




    Re: Long or short vowel/help from gerondif, posted on 29-11-2022 at 12:35:49 (D | E)
    Hello, traviskidd
    Your system is quite different from the one I am used to and learnt at university.
    (whenever a pronunciation is introduced by UK, it means I borrowed it from the dictionary provided by a double-click.)

    "Cat" has the short A,: Yes, as in cat, black, fat etc
    "Kate" has the long A : not for me : we make a difference between a short a in cat , a long a in car, last, far, last,[a:]
    and the diphtong [ei] in Kate, mate, lane, babe, etc.
    (There is also what I call the "European A" as in "father", but "rather" has the short A.)
    Not in my references : rather UK: */ˈrɑːðər/

    "Met" has the short E, "meet" has the long E. Ok, I agree twith that.
    (The long E could be considered the European I, as in "unique", but this isn't necessary)
    in English, unique is pronounced UK: */juːˈniːk/US:/juˈnik/ ,(yo̅o̅ nēk′) (that last transcription looks like the system you use) but in French, it is a short i, as in Jim, fin...

    "Lit" has the short I, "light" the long.
    Yes, it's interesting to see that the German cht (acht [rt]) becomes the English ght (eight) with a diphtong effect, Licht [lit] in German becomes light, [lait].
    "Hop" has the short O, "hope" the long.. For me, a short o is in not, fog, lot, , a long o is in or, door, floor, fought , it is different from the diphtong , two sounds, in no, so, go...

    (In the US, the short O is the same as the European A, so that "bother" rhymes with "father".)
    I am very surprised, for me, bother is a short o,
    UK: */ˈbɒðər/ US:USA pronunciation: IPA/ˈbɑðɚ/ whereas father is a long a : UK:*'father', 'Father': /ˈfɑːðə/US:/ˈfɑðɚ/ , but you are right, iti s a short a in th Us, according to the dictionary.

    "Good" has the short OO, "food" the long. Ok.

    "Under" has the short U, "unite" the long. (In fact the long U = Y + long OO) I would make a difference between a short u as in look, cook , a long u as in food, mood but for me under has a very high sound, , as in summer, sun.
    Unite is indeed transcribed as a long u, UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈjuːnaɪt/ but I hear it as a short u when I pronounce "The United States", I hear more a stress on the second syllabe ni, I don't hear people lingering on the first syllabe, I hear ju:'naitid, almost j'naitid .

    Sometimes vowels are pronounced with a different vowel than what is written, for example:
    "Love" is pronounced with the short U :
    for me rather a high a [lv]
    UK: */ˈlʌv/US:/lʌv/ ,(luv) (yes, in Manchester, Newcastle, [luv] as in good, but it is a local accent indeed. "Ta, luv" [ta: luv] for "thank you, dear !"
    "Move" is pronounced with the long OO
    And of course famously:
    The "o" in "woman" is pronounced with the short OO, but the "o" in "women" is the short I!

    Here, we are dealing with irregular plurals, bizarre also in their pronunciation .
    vixen comes into my mind (but it's not a plural), also why child [ld] but children [ldrn] ?
    why women [wimen], UK: */ˈwɪmɪn/ US:USA pronunciation: respelling(wim′in) but omen : UK: */ˈəʊmɛn/US:/ˈoʊmən/

    Anyway, that's more food for thought for zhaows, especially if he is really 14 years old !




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