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Sorting out those phonetics

From:Adrian Morgan <morg0072@...>
Date:Friday, May 19, 2000, 1:52
I'm not receiving messages now because it was eating
up too much time, but I do sometimes still glance
over the web version of the list, to see what's
going on.

Thus, I was interested to hear Nik Taylor say:

 > But [V] and [@] are virtually identical, at least
 > in my idiolect (the standard disclaimer, it
 > seems).  Both are mid-central vowels, with [V]
 > only being very very slightly higher than [@]
 > (and even that, I suspect, may be an artifact of
 > artificially producing them).

.. because that's news to me, and helps me to
clear up what all those phonetic symbols mean. I'd
wondered what the difference was between [V] and
[a], because all the examples that are meant to
illustrate [V] are invariably examples where I use

I'm pretty sure that [&] -> cat, [a] -> cut,
[a:] -> cart, [a:] -> father, [&i] -> bait,
[ai] -> bite (although, with the last two, I have
trouble telling the difference between [I] and
[i] when they occur in a diphthong). The vowel in
'boot', I can never remember if it's [U] or [u];
I think it's the former. If so, then I *think* that
[VU] -> boat.

I'm not at all clear what [A] is. The "Ah" as in,
"Ah, so that's it!" is definately [a:], no? Nor
have I grasped [E] and how it differs from [e]. As
for [Q], I'm not sure exactly but I *think* it's
sort of between [a] and the vowel in 'bot' (which,
IIRC, is [O]?).

Being Australian is a distinct disadvantage when
all sources on phonetics are British or American