Vowel length

Vowel length, Duration of a vowel sound.

In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived length of a vowel sound: the corresponding physical measurement is duration. In some languages vowel length is an important phonemic factor, meaning vowel length can change the meaning of the word, for example in: Arabic, Finnish, Fijian, Kannada, Japanese, Latin, Old English, Scottish Gaelic, and Vietnamese. While vowel length alone does not change word meaning in most dialects of English, it is said to do so in a few dialects, such as Australian English, Lunenburg English, New Zealand English, and South African English. It also plays a lesser phonetic role in Cantonese, unlike in other varieties of Chinese. Many languages do not distinguish vowel length phonemically, meaning that vowel length does not change meaning, and the length of a vowel is affected by other factors such as the values of the sounds around it.
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