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I'm learning the vowel part of phonology. It says the cardinal vowel "i" is tense. But what is the difference between this cardinal "i" and "i:"? They are both tense, right?

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Are you asking about IPA? In that case /i/ is short, but /i:/ is long. Both are tense.

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  • It depends on the convention. In quantitative notation, "i" can represent a lax vowel. Also, inappropriate to use slashes since the OP didn't indicate whether they were asking about phonemes or phones (or of what language for that matter). – Nardog Apr 26 '20 at 10:56
  • thank you for your kind reply. So tense is not related to the length, right? – user27687 Apr 26 '20 at 12:30
  • @HyejooYu in my variety if English, the short vowel is pronounced lax and the long one is pronounced tense. Many European languages are the same in that regard. But not in all languages. This is phonemic. In phonetics there is no connection. – OmarL Apr 26 '20 at 13:07
  • An example of a language where tenseness and length are not connected is Icelandic, which has all four variants: lax short [ɪ], lax long [ɪː], tense short [i], tense long [iː]. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 26 '20 at 15:10
  • @Wilson, note the length difference in bit vs. bid, beet vs. bead. Do you still stick by your comment? – user6726 Apr 26 '20 at 20:05

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