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Thread: Me speaking in English

  1. #21
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampada View Post
    Да, пора уж подучить Роберта английским звукам, а то он нас тут в конец запутает.
    LOL!

    But I think that Marcus was partly correct -- I probably used the term aspirated incorrectly in my post (i.e., not in the proper technical sense that linguists use it).

    However, I would insist that English speakers tend to release more air with the /b/ sound, in comparison to Spanish or Russian speakers, for example. At the same time, there is less air than with the /p/ sound, so perhaps it's incorrect to describe the /b/ as aspirated. Also, from Google, I find that in the Indo-Aryan languages, /b/ and /bh/ are separate phonemes, while in English, there is only the phoneme /b/, which is still /b/ whether you "aspirate" it (for want of a better term) a lot or a little.

    P.S. I listened to the "Jana Gana Mana" song that Marcus linked to -- and, yes, he's correct that I (as a native English speaker) do not say the /b/ in "boy" the same as the /bh/ in Bharata bhagya. So, perhaps, I shouldn't have used the word "aspirate." Even so, to my ears, some Russians do not... um... "push out enough air" when pronouncing the /b/ in English. Or perhaps Marcus could agree to describe the English /b/ as "semi-aspirated", while the /p/ is "aspirated".
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  2. #22
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    I agree with ThRobert, the English give more pressure and sharpness to the labial consonants (b, p, f, v) compared to their counterparts in Russian (Б, П, Ф, В), i.e. they sound much softer in Russian than in English. I used to notice that the Russian В for example, sounds like inbetween the English V and W in terms of "plosiveness".
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  3. #23
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    Russian B is an approximant: the upper teeth only approach the lower lip. English v is pronounced with the upper teeth touching the lower lip.

  4. #24
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Russian B is an approximant: the upper teeth only approach the lower lip. English v is pronounced with the upper teeth touching the lower lip.
    that's a good point because sometimes the В is very slight, almost aspirated.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sperk View Post
    that's a good point because sometimes the В is very slight, almost aspirated.
    In Russian? Or in English spoken by Russians?

  6. #26
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    In Russian? Or in English spoken by Russians?
    in Russian, sometimes the B is very faint, almost not pronounced.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  7. #27
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    Like совершенно, which is often pronounced сършеннъ

  8. #28
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    I think the B in твой and its variations is often barely touched, if at all.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sperk View Post
    I think the B in твой and its variations is often barely touched, if at all.
    Really? I don't think твой is pronounced той.

  10. #30
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Marcus think of it as if твой whould be pronounced тwой without much pressure on the lips.
    Even maybe without the pressure at all. That's what he means by "barely touched". There IS a big difference.
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  11. #31
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    I see. Yes "barely touched".

  12. #32
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    To whom it may be interesting:

    I think the problem what Robert tried to describe was the difference in pronunciation of English and Russian voiced consonants. For example, compare English "book", "dull", "goal" with similarly (but not eqaully!) sounding Russian "бук", "дал", "гол". The initial consonants in English and Russian examples do not fully coincide.

    If someone is interested in technical details, let me drop some light on it.

    "Voiced" can be understood differently in different languages. In real world, there is a continuous spectrum of "voicing degrees".

    Below is some theoretical background:
    If the vocal chords vibrate during the entire occlusion time of a consonant, the consonant is "fully voiced". If they vibrate during only a part of the consonant occlusion time, the consonant is "partially voiced". If they do not vibrate during the consonant occlusion, but start vibrating immediately after the consonant release (when a consonant is followed by a vowel), it is a "tenuis voiceless consonant". If they do not vibrate during the consonant occlusion, and do not start vibrating immediately after its release, but there is a noticeable delay between a consonant and a subsequent vowel, it is an "aspirated voiceless consonant". There can also be different degrees of partial voicing, as well as different degrees of aspiration.
    Wikipedia provides more details on this phenomenon: Voice onset time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    In Russian, voiced stops (б, д, г) are always "fully voiced". For example, when we pronounce "бар", the vocal chords start vibrating at the very moment the lips come in touch in order to make an occlusion, they continue vibrating during all the occlusion time producing the voice, and the voice continues throughout the consonant release and the subsequent vowel articulation. In addition, the voicing is more intense as compared to the English pronunciation, but the muscle tension is weaker, so this degree of voicing reminds the one of a vowel: voicing somewhat "prevails" over the consonant noise.

    The voiced stops in English (b, d, g) more or less remind Russian ones only when they happen inter-vocalically (i.e between two vowels) as in "aBout", "aDapt", "aGo". Word-initially and word-finally they are only "partially voiced" or they can even be "voiceless tenuis". Word-initially, voicing extends over the final part of a consonant (the moment of its release): "bell", "dime", "gun". The word final position (as in "rub", "had", "frog") is even more complicated, it is discussed in the following article: Fortis and lenis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Quotation: "Word-initially, the contrast has more to do with aspiration; /t/ is aspirated and /d/ is an unaspirated voiceless stop. In the syllable coda, however, /t/ is instead pronounced with glottalization, unrelease, and a shorter vowel while /d/ remains voiceless. In this way, the terms fortis and lenis are convenient in discussing English phonology, even if they are phonetically imprecise."

    So, in English voice is not the main distinctive feature for "p-b", "t-d", "k-g". In Russian, it is the voice which is the only distinctive feature between them.
    Word-initially, English contrasts "voiceless aspirated" with "partially voiced" (or even "voiceless tenuis") consonants (as in "park" – "bark", "time – dime", "coat" – "goat"). Russian contrasts "voiceless tenuis" with "fully voiced" consonants (as in "пар" – "бар", "том" – "дом", "кот" – "год").

    The distinction used in English is similar to the one in other Germanic languages (e.g German, Swedish). It is also similar in Chinese and Korean.
    The distinction used in Russian is similar to the one in other Slavic languages, in Romance languages (like Spanish, French etc.). It is also similar in Japanese.

    This difference creates potential problems for both Russians learning English and for native English speakers who learn Russian.

    Russians are not used to aspiration, and they can pronounce "park", "time", "coat" with Russian unaspirated (tenuis) consonants. In this case, those words might seem sound similar to "bark", "dime", "goat" to native English speakers. English speakers may fail to recognise a consonant as "voiceless" if it is not supplied with sufficient aspiration, so they can deduct "Russians are unable to produce voiceless consonants", but Russians would certainly disagree: "the consonants I pronounce ARE voiceless".

    Native speakers of English are not used to fully voiced consonants word-initially, and they can pronounce "бар", "дом", "год" with English partially voiced consonants. In this case, those words might seem sound similar to "пар", "том", "кот" to native Russian speakers. Russians may fail to recognise a consonant as "voiced" if it is not fully voiced, so they can deduct "English speakers are unable to produce voiced consonants, at least word-initially", but English speakers would disagree: "the consonants I pronounce ARE voiced".

    I think what Robert mistakenly called "aspiration" of English voiced consonants is this very difference between English and Russian voiced consonants (partially voiced VS fully voiced).
    Medved likes this.

  13. #33
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    For practic purpose, producing the proper aspiration of English voiceless consonants by Russian learners is more important than the ability to pronounce "partially voiced" consonants, which are unusual for Russians as well. If you say "ben" with the fully voiced Russian "б", it will still sound as "ben", although the accent can be noticed. But if you say "pen" with the Russian tenuis "п", it can be taken for "ben".

    Similarly, for practic purpose, producing the proper full vocing of Russian voiced consonants by English-speaking learners is more important than the ability to pronounce "tenuis" unaspirated voiceless consonants. If you say "пар" with the aspirated English "p", Russians will still take it for "пар", although the accent will be noticeable. But if you say "бар" with the English partially voiced "b", it can be taken for "пар".

    There are some links where this issue is discussed in details:

    phonetics - What is the difference between voiced and voiceless stop consonants? - Linguistics Beta - Stack Exchange

    quotations:

    "As a native speaker of American English, when I was listening to the difference sounds in this IPA chart, I was really surprised when I realized that I could not differentiate between p/b, t/d, and k/g. (I think I've always been distinguishing the pairs based on whether or not the consonant is aspirated.). I know the difference has to do with vibrations of the vocal chords, but I am not quite sure what to listen for."

    "So what does this mean for you. As a native English speaker, you have only ever been exposed to [p] aspirated and [p] unaspirated. You understand the former to be /p/ and the latter to be /b/.

    When you get presented with a sound you've never heard before in that particular phonetic environment, your brain just associates it to the nearest match. Your brain disregards the voicing before the stop release and notices that there is no aspiration duration, concluding immediately that it is also /b/. This is helped in large part in that in even slightly rapid speech, the English sound /b/ appears not as an unaspirated [p] but actually a fully voiced [b] (e.g., in the word tabs).

    And that's why you may not be able to tell."

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...4071028AATF9L4

    quotation:

    "I can clearly distinguish (b, d, g) from (p, t, k) spoken by native US/UK English speakers. People can clearly distinguish my (b, d, g) from (p, t, k) too. To me, the only perceivable difference between the two groups is that a puff of air comes out when we say (p, t, k).

    However, when I listen to Japanese, Spanish or south Asian speakers, sometimes I cannot distinguish the two groups. To me, both of them sounds like (b, d, g). However, apparently other listeners (including native US/UK speakers) can still distinguish them."

    zompist bboard • View topic - Voiced/unvoiced plosive distinction in English

    quotations:

    "I've read more than once that the distinction between voiced and unvoiced plosives in English is more a distinction between aspirated and non-aspirated, and to a native speaker's ear a non-aspirated initial plosive (in a foreign language) sounds voiced (and also that non-aspirated and hence voiced initial plosives carry very little voice)."

    "I remember an article in the
    New York Times about a fairly recent paper that showed something similar happens if the audial and tactile information are out of sync: e.g., one tends to hear /ta/ for /da/ (are slashes appropriate there?) if a air is blown onto one's hand. I assume the test subjects were native English speakers, but the article didn't specify."The latter is probably a typo, logically it should read "[da] for [ta]", I guess.

  14. #34
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    I think aspiration is this energetic exhalation like an H sound after one of the consonants:

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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medved View Post
    I think aspiration is this energetic exhalation like an H sound after one of the consonants:
    Yes, it is. What is even more important, when an aspirated consonant is followed by a vowel, the aspiration results in time delay between the consonant release and the vowel voicing. Other words, the vocal chord vibration does not start immediately after the consonant is released.

    But I agree with what you said about the [h] exhalation.

  16. #36
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    При этом на конце слов англоязычные наше оглушение замечают.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    При этом на конце слов англоязычные наше оглушение замечают.
    Кстати, и придыхание (аспирация) в русском языке есть. Но оно имеет место как раз на конце слова. Мы его обычно не замечаем, но при этом произносим "кот" как [котh] со слабым придыханием в конце. Тогда как в английском "cat" придыхание наиболее выражено именно в начале: [khat] (сорри, знаков IPA под рукой нет). Поэтому и замечают они оглушение. Но не только поэтому, с финальной позицией там сложно всё, от диалекта зависит.

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