Things they didn't tell me about English, part 3/n.

Phonotaxis/phototactics... For the most part those are comparable against any and all languages. But then there are always subtle differences. Between English and Finnish the most pronounced differences have to do with the long versus short consonants and vowels, which Finnish has and English mostly does not.

English does retain certain minimum pairs from Proto-Germanic, such as "uh" vs. "oomph". Short versus long vowels. Or in consonants some even rarer, colloquial cases like "thick" versus (Irish/Scots Gaelic) "Theean". But as you can see, those cases are pretty rare, and it's pretty hard for me to come up with such examples evenif I try.

In Finnish, that sort of thing is par of the course. In consonantal contrast, we might have something like "kato"/"look (colloquial imperative)" versus "katto"/"roof". In vowels, maybe "kaato"/"felling something over", and funnily enough even the homonym "kato"/"loss of something".Not as a verb form now, but as a noun in base form.

Be as it may, both the length of consonants and those of the vowels carry meaning in Finnish. At the same time in English, they usually don't. "The Thing" and "Thhee Thing" might come across as dialectal oddities, but they do not change the meaning of "the" as a preposition.

These are then just examples for both Finnish and English speakers. What's at issue here is the contrast between long/short vowels/consonants, and not any particular word. You Finnish speakers try to learn English, you again have the short end of the staff here: it's pretty difficult to unlearn differences you already know and hold dear. Like, "little" just has one "t", "litté" has 2.5 of it, and "lite" then has a mere 0.5-0.8 of the t-ness.

In there, the first "e" is very short, and almost elided altogether.The second, accented one is something like 2.0x as long and ends up sounding like "i". The third "e", in its context, is about 0.5x long, pure "e", with an abrupt stop at the end.

In the Finnish context, the last "e" would be the one in the word "ketterä"/"nimble". Very short.The middly long could happen e.g. in the Eastern vernacular word "keppana"/"a pint". For the long "e" we'd nee something like "Eerikinkatu"/"Eric's street.". The final lenght being: "Eeronkatu"/"Eero's street."h

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