Filologiya məsələləri, 2017 211
There are differences between English and Azerbaijanian long vowels. Short
vowels may become considerably longer in our native language. Azerbaijanian
long vowels may occur only in certain positions in a word: in unstressed syllables
and in non-final position. The long Azerbaijanian vowels differ from their short
pairs in length only. All other characteristics are the same.
The English short vowels are checked. Their utterance is stopped abruptly
without weaking of tenseness by the following consonant. That is why they occur
only in closed syllables. All the English short vowels in stressed position are
Damirchizada writes: “ There are three kinds of vowel phonemes in
Azerbaijanian language: neutral vowels, short vowels, long vowels. Short vowels
are pronounced much shorter than the neutral vowels. Short vowels can be named
as semivowels. The lose of a vowel when a suffix is added to the root of a word
is a sign. This sign shows that vowel is short vowel: boyun-boynu, burun-burnu.
Although the vowel /æ/ is a historically short one, there are some reasons for
classing /æ/ rather together with the historically long vowels. These reasons are
explained by A.C.Gimson in the following words: “ This traditionally short vowel
appears to be lengthened in RP especially before the lenis consonants /m, n, b, d,
g, ʤ/ . Though vowels are regularly longer before syllable-final lenis consonants
than before fortis consonants, the lengthened /æ/ is equivalent in quantity to the
longest varieties of /ɑ:, u:, i:, ɔ:, ɜ:/ . In terms of the system, this may be due to the
increasing qualitative proximity in RP of /e/ and /æ/, the extra length serving as
an additional distinctive feature. 
To make the dichotomy of the English long and short vowel phonemes
complete and bring perfect symmetry into their system, it is convenient to
consider /æ/ a long vowel.
The 12 English monophthongs may be divided into the following six
phonemic pairs. Their members differ from each other in two respect: in quantity
and in quality.
/i:-ı/ : teen-tin, seen-sin, deem-dim
/ɑ:-ʌ/ : barter-butter, dark-duck, bard-bud
/æ-e/ : sad-said, sat-set, and-end, bat-bet
/u:-ʊ/ : too-to, fool-full, pool-pull
/ɔ:-o/ : court-cot, porter-potter
/ɜ:-ə/ : foreword-forward
There are no words or grammatical forms in English which are
differentiated from each other by vowels of different length but of absolutely
identical quality, quantitative differences cannot serve as a basis for a single
phonological opposition in English.
There is only one pair of English vowel phonemes which have only this
difference as their minimal distinctive feature, although slightly skewed
vertically:/æ-ɑ:/ as in cad-card. The difference in length may be considered either
non-exist if /æ/ is classed together with the historically long vowels, or non-
Filologiya məsələləri, 2017 212
distinctive, incidental if /æ/ is classed together with the historically short vowels.
The slight vertical skew consists in /æ/ being a little higher than /ɑ:/.
The American descriptivists treated the historically long English vowels as
biphonemic combinations of a vowel+glide and thus liquidating the long vowels
British phoneticians refuse to apply the same procedure to long vowel
phonemes in RP. They express at the same time different points of view on the
distinctive relevance of vowel length in its relationship to vowel quality. For
instance, D.Jones lays emphasis upon the distinctive importance of length.
He represents the system of the RP simple vowel phonemes: “ Four pairs of
these vowels may be considered as belonging to single phonemes in one type of
Southern English. The tamber of the English short i differs considerably from
that of the English long i:. But in this kind of English the difference in tamber
always coincides with a difference of length. i: is always longer than i when
surrounded by the same sounds and pronounced with the same degree of stress.
There is not much difference in tamber between the long ə: and the most
frequently used short ə. There are eight pure vowel phonemes in Southern
English: i, e, u, ə, ʌ, æ, ɔ, ɑ”. 
He writes: “ The absolute lengths of the English long vowels and diphthongs
are very variable and depend on their situations in words and sentences. This
fact may be stated in more technical language by saying that there are two
‘chronemes’ (long and short) applicable to the vowels of the type of English
with which we are concerned here, and that each chroneme comprises several
According to D.Jones, both vowels in the pairs /i:-i/ and in others like this are
variants of one and the same phoneme, but each long vowel in these pairs
belongs to the long chroneme while the short vowel belongs to the short
chroneme. He says that both allochrones are represented by one and the same
symbol of a phonemic, or linguistically broad, transcription, viz. i:, u, ɔ, ə and
while the long chroneme is implied by the absence of the length mark. He
doesn’t place the transcription symbols between brackets or slanting lines,
instead, they are printed in heavy type.
The vowels themselves in each pair are variants of the same phoneme, the
slight qualitative difference between them being subordinate to the difference of
quantity. By allochrones are meant different degrees of length that a chroneme
has when its carrier, a phoneme, occurs in different positions.
Although chronemes as separate prosodic phonological units are known to
exist in languages, English is not a language in which they really exist.
The English long chroneme can be pronounced fully long, halflong and short.
In the duration of a speech sound a true chroneme is capable of
differentiating meaningful units of language only when the quality of the sounds
remains unchanged with a distinctive change of their length. A change in quality
is demonstrably due to a distinctive change of quantity.