I'm studying the English vowels of the IPA. However, I got a few questions which can't be diffused after discussions with my friends.
1. What's the difference between "ə" and "ʌ"?
I don't want an answer about the position of tongue and the shape of the mouth; instead, I wish to distinguish simply based on listening it. I know "ə" is kind of a very short "e" while "ʌ" is the sound of "u" in "up." However, I can't distinguish which one it is when listening to a word.
2. The 12 vowels in English
The 12 vowels should be as listed below (if I didn't get it wrongly).
ʌ, ɑː, æ, ɛ (e), ə, ɜː, ɪ, iː, ɒ, ɔː, ʊ, and uː.
While one of my friends studying phonology told me that ː (indicating long vowels) can be attached to all vowels. While my another friend told me that the 12 vowels listed above are the only possible vowels in English. Who was correct?
3. Distinguishing between long vowels
I found it quite difficult to do so. It is easy when I see "ee" in "see" or "oo" in "soon". But how could I distinguish it when it comes to "a" in "arm" and "u" in "turn", provided that both of them are long vowels?
4. Matters about accents
I'm personally a second-language learner in English so my pronunciation might not be as accurate (or perhaps natural, or whatever) as those who are native. Does this actually matters how I distinguish those vowels with tiny differences? For example, I used to pronouncing "professional" as "pro..." while the Oxford Dictionary pronounced it like "pra..."
5. The CVC pattern
It was my friend introducing this to me. Based on his explanation, it should be a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern for each word. And my question is: there are so many words (or I would say syllables) aren't ending in a consonant. For example, "see" is /siː/ which is a CV pattern. This denies that my friend said CVC is the most basic form of each word. I think I might get something missed out so can somebody point out what it is?
[I think this might be a similar situation of that we (as 2nd language learners) regard SVO as the basic statement structure while SV (like "it's raining") is also possible]
I hope this may not be too much and thank you for your kind responses.