So, does that mean that you have to memorize which words have the longer /@:/ sound and which words have the shorter one? is there any clue to know which is which?
these differences are not shown in most dictionaries are they? i've checked longman and collins cobuild but both of them said lad and bad have the same vowel sound, and bad and bade were transcribed the same except there was an alternative pronunciation for bade, which is /beid/.
Non-natives wouldn't bother learning this. It's so trivial and there are just too many to list. You'd only ever pick it up if you lived here among natives.
The issue of vowel length in Australian English is only important in the non-rhotic elements of speech... and perhaps in a few other areas, eg. "lust" vs "last", "musk" vs "mask", "must" vs "mast".
You forgot this vulgar example:
"cunt" vs "can't".
Vowel length is very important. I don't know how anyone can argue otherwise.
Ohhh yeah... classic and classy mate! Naughty me... and you, for remembering. :) I'm sure there are heaps of other important pairs that we could come up with.
Where are you from?
KC if you were refering to me about different dailects you're pretty right but I wouldn't call variations in vocab evidence of a dialect. As I understand it a dialect needs to vary in pronunciation and grammar as well as vocabulary (but that is a quibble about semantics).
That said, come up to Darwin. There is a large portion of the population that only come up here for a couple of years and then move on so this is not very universal but the vocabulary is full of unique words, many of which come from Larrakia. The territory has had such a different history to the rest of the nation that the difference in accent, vocab and sometimes grammar seems normal. Even then those differences probably wouldn't be obvious to a non-Australian. But they are there.
I think SBS is doing a project of compiling a book or documentary of regionalisms in Australia, including a look at Darwin.