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Next: Transliteration of LT Up: Phonetics of Spoken Previous: Gemination

Vowel length

Similarly, not all phonemically long vowels in Tamil are actually twice the length of their short analogs. For one thing, all Tamil vowels in final position tend to be shortened; we write them as long in our transcription, but phonetically they may not be. As a speaker progresses through the pronunciation of a word, tonic vowels or vowels near the beginning of a sentence may be long, but towards the end of the word, short vowels get deleted and long vowels shortened. There are even some cases of deletion of long vowels, but only as part of the grammaticalization of certain morphemes, such as ؽ poola `like' in certain constructions, or with the aspectual verb ؽ poodu. Otherwise long vowels are not deleted; they may be shortened by certain, albeit rare, morphophonemic processes, but that is all.