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Author Topic:   Languages
CosmicChimp
Member
Posts: 311
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 31 of 69 (632337)
09-07-2011 7:09 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by dwise1
09-05-2011 5:29 PM


Re: Hochdeutsch and German film
Sent a PM

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1105 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 32 of 69 (632338)
09-07-2011 7:17 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Panda
09-07-2011 6:41 AM


Re: Languages
If anyone else is as confused as me by trying to work this out - I'll save you having to look it up yourselves - the 't' sound in 'stop' is voiced, whereas it isn't in 'top' - meaning your vocal cords vibrate to produce the first, whereas the sound for the second is produced only by the air released from your mouth. You can feel this by holding your fingers to your throat as you say it. Which means the 't' in 'stop' is actually pretty much the same sound as 'd'.
ABE: Which is a bit of an oversimplification, since further experimentation suggests that my vocal cords do vibrate to produce the 't' by itself, just slightly less.
Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.

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Panda
Member (Idle past 3793 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 33 of 69 (632341)
09-07-2011 8:40 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by caffeine
09-07-2011 7:17 AM


Re: Languages
caffeine writes:
If anyone else is as confused as me by trying to work this out - I'll save you having to look it up yourselves - the 't' sound in 'stop' is voiced, whereas it isn't in 'top' - meaning your vocal cords vibrate to produce the first, whereas the sound for the second is produced only by the air released from your mouth. You can feel this by holding your fingers to your throat as you say it. Which means the 't' in 'stop' is actually pretty much the same sound as 'd'.
This would imply that you can't whisper a 'd' or the word 'stop'?
Or does whispering use your vocal cords?
(I have always wondered why mutes can't whisper.)

Always remember: QUIDQUID LATINE DICTUM SIT ALTUM VIDITUR
Science flies you into space; religion flies you into buildings.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1105 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(1)
Message 34 of 69 (632342)
09-07-2011 9:38 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Panda
09-07-2011 8:40 AM


Re: Languages
This would imply that you can't whisper a 'd' or the word 'stop'?
Or does whispering use your vocal cords?
You do use your vocal cords when whispering. Your vocal cords are brought together to create turbulence in the airflow when you would be making a voiced sound in normal speech (at least according to wikipedia). I just sat here whispering 'butter, putter', and they do sound more similar to one another than when speaking aloud normally.

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 35 of 69 (632344)
09-07-2011 10:08 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by caffeine
09-07-2011 6:36 AM


a couple links
The physical differences in 'b' and 'p' were easy to identify (forgive me if the following description is a bit strained, but I don't know the technical terms). You start making both letters by bringing your lips together, and then releasing the air. With 'b', the shape of my mouth doesn't change before the air is released. With 'p', however, my cheeks swell a bit, changing the shape of the mouth cavity and presumably meaning more air is being released.
The things you're describing have to do with both the place and manner of articulation (of the mouth). Deep in the study of linguistics, within phonetics, they go into these two things specifically. Here's a couple links to wikipedia where you can find the technical terms and what articulations of your mouth they're referring to:
Place of articulation
Manner of articulation
There some neat images and a chart in those links. I think its facinating so I thought it was worth sharing.
Hope you like it.

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nwr
Member
Posts: 6419
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 36 of 69 (632347)
09-07-2011 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by caffeine
09-07-2011 6:36 AM


Re: Languages
I can identify no similar difference between 'stop' and 'top' though.
If I try to emphasize the sounds, then both are alike.
If I speak normally, but pay attention to my movements (particularly the tongue), then there is a difference. The tongue movement is more forceful for the 't' in "top" than in "stop".

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5969
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.2


Message 37 of 69 (632349)
09-07-2011 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by caffeine
09-07-2011 3:57 AM


Re: Languages
I've sat here for ages trying to identify any difference between the two sounds at all and can't.
That's mainly because you never had to learn to detect a difference, because those differences are not phonemic, they don't distinguish meaning. This is one of the hurdles in learning a foreign language which has phonemes that very similar, are not phonemes in English, and hence sound the same to an English-speaker. It takes time and practice to learn to distinguish the difference.
One example we were given in school was a Southeast Asian language (Thai?) which has two p's that a phonemic: one is aspirated and the other is not. English does not distinguish between them but an English-speaker learning that language would need to learn to distinguish between them.
In French phonology class, our textbook went through all the sounds of French and described them. Then for each sound the book would describe the kinds of difficulties speakers of other languages would have with that sound.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1105 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 38 of 69 (632352)
09-07-2011 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by nwr
09-07-2011 10:31 AM


Re: Languages
If I speak normally, but pay attention to my movements (particularly the tongue), then there is a difference. The tongue movement is more forceful for the 't' in "top" than in "stop".
I can feel the difference in my vocal cords now - but I'm fairly certain my tongue's movement is identical for both sounds.

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5969
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.2


Message 39 of 69 (632380)
09-07-2011 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by caffeine
09-07-2011 7:17 AM


Re: Languages
If anyone else is as confused as me by trying to work this out - I'll save you having to look it up yourselves - the 't' sound in 'stop' is voiced, whereas it isn't in 'top' - meaning your vocal cords vibrate to produce the first, whereas the sound for the second is produced only by the air released from your mouth. You can feel this by holding your fingers to your throat as you say it. Which means the 't' in 'stop' is actually pretty much the same sound as 'd'.
ABE: Which is a bit of an oversimplification, since further experimentation suggests that my vocal cords do vibrate to produce the 't' by itself, just slightly less.
Hrrrh? It's definitely not voiced when I say either word. English dialectal difference like what you complained about in Message 23 about descriptions of a Czech sound being similar to a particular English sound which is not pronounced as you would?
Now, the precise way in which a sound is pronounced depends on the sounds surrounding it. As nwr pointed out (Message 36), the preceding 's' in "stop" places the tip of the tongue in a different location for the start of the 't' than it's at with the initial 't'. In Spanish (the Latin American standard we're taught, at least, which does match the Mexican), whereas the 'd' is pronounced like a voiced "th", it changes to a normal 'd' sound when it follows an 'n'. And in Russian all the consonants in a cluster get voiced or unvoiced depending on the voicing of the final consonant in that cluster, hence the Russian accent pronouncing "disgusting" (wherein we unvoice the s and voice the g) as "dizgusting" (both voiced).
Which was a point that my Russian prof, of the Linguistics Department, once made. That when we're first encountering a new language (eg, when we are starting to learn it) we don't hear the actual sounds, but rather we hear the sounds of our native language which seem to come closest, so those are the sounds we use in trying to speak that new language, which is what gives us our accents in that language. Which is why in English somebody with a Russian accent sounds differently than somebody with a French accent, or an Italian accent, etc. Each is trying to apply the sounds and intonations of his own language to this foreign one.
That same Russian prof maintained that while you would want a native speaker as a teacher later on, you do not want one to teach beginners. Rather, you would want someone whose native language is your own, because that teacher would understand why you are making the common mistakes that you are, whereas the native speaker wouldn't understand why you're having difficulties with something so simple.
-----------------------------------
Bob Hope to a famous young Russian gymnast in a live TV interview via special satellite link-up:
When I was in Russia I was very impressed with how smart everybody was. Even the small children could speak Russian.
(the poor kid nervously glanced to the side, as if to ask his handler what that was supposed to mean.)
Edited by dwise1, : added Russian prof's second point

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5969
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.2


Message 40 of 69 (632381)
09-07-2011 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by caffeine
09-07-2011 10:52 AM


Re: Languages
Pay attention to your apico placement -- where the tip of your tongue is. I find that for "stop" it's touching the back of my lower front teeth and stays there, whereas for "top" it starts at the back of my upper front teeth, then gets released in producing the 't' and then drops down to the lower teeth to produce the "ah" vowel sound of the 'o'.

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Shield
Member (Idle past 2943 days)
Posts: 482
Joined: 01-29-2008


Message 41 of 69 (632404)
09-07-2011 10:00 PM


Im surprised by the lack of languages tought in US schools.
In Danish public schools we get english and then either German or French, we can chose between the two.
In highschool a variety of languages are offered.

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1547 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


(1)
Message 42 of 69 (632406)
09-07-2011 10:08 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Shield
09-07-2011 10:00 PM


Im surprised by the lack of languages tought in US schools.
I think you've been misinformed. Throughout most of the country children in lower grades are taught Spanish, since that's the other primary language on this continent; throughout grades 7-12 I had access to instruction in French, German, more Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese, despite being the resident of a farm town of 2,500 people (not counting the neighboring university) in Minnesota.
I know the stereotype is that Americans only speak English, but it's not because we're not taught it as children, it's because we lose the other languages because there's no need to use them. European travel is well out of the range of most Americans, Asia even more so; unless you live in the Southwest there's little practical need for Spanish, either. The US is the world's primary exporter of culture, so all that's in English anyway.

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 1105 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 43 of 69 (632455)
09-08-2011 5:54 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by dwise1
09-07-2011 3:03 PM


Re: Languages
I'll have to check this when the office is a bit more peaceful and I feel comfortable repeating words out loud again, but I think we definitely have a dialect difference that's impeding understanding here! Once again we're facing the problem of trying to describe something by example of how we say words, when we all say the words differently.
I remember once I decided it would be fun to try and learn the Internationsl Phonetic Alphabet, so that I'd understand what the pronounciation guides in dictionaries actually meant. I didn't get very far, but the descriptions of the sounds for each letter that I had were clearly written from the perspective of mid-western American. I spent ages puzzling over some vowel (don't remember how it's written) that the writer obviously had no clear reference for. He was blathering on about imagining Captain Picard ordering "earl grey, hot", and it took me a long time to realise that the sound he was describing was, for me, just a normal short 'o'.
Which, incidentally, brings to mind a pet-hate of mine on the topic of language - people who claim they don't have an accent. The very sentence is incoherent. RP English, mid-western American, Gooische Dutch, or whatever standard pronounciation you grew up with in your own language, is still an accent, unless you speak without making any noise.

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Panda
Member (Idle past 3793 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 44 of 69 (632467)
09-08-2011 6:56 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by caffeine
09-08-2011 5:54 AM


Re: Languages
caffeine writes:
Which, incidentally, brings to mind a pet-hate of mine on the topic of language - people who claim they don't have an accent.
I, of course, don't have an accent. This is just how things sound when they are pronounced properly.
-Jimmy Carr

Always remember: QUIDQUID LATINE DICTUM SIT ALTUM VIDITUR
Science flies you into space; religion flies you into buildings.

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Son Goku
Inactive Member


Message 45 of 69 (633032)
09-12-2011 5:51 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by caffeine
09-05-2011 8:22 AM


Re: Languages
caffeine writes:
As for whether they understand you properly, a lot depends on the context of what you're saying. If you're waving your hands around it's much easier, but even on the phone people can often tell what declension you're supposed to be using from context. The biggest problems often come from the simplest sentences, because a slight change in pronounciation can change 'Eva paid Jana' ('Eva Jan platila') to 'Jana paid Eva' ('Ev Jana platila'). When you grew up with an accent like mine where most vowels tend to become the same sound anyway this can cause problems.
Well at least it isn't too bad. I know in Finnish they don't have a clue what you're talking about if you get the declensions wrong.
caffeine writes:
But it gets even worse with '', a sound unique to Czech which is like a rolled r and the middle constanant in 'fusion' said at the same time. The word for asparagus begins with a soft 'ch', like in 'loch', followed immediately by a ''. I can't order asparagus in restaurants.
Wow!, I was listening to that sound, it seems almost impossible to pronounce. This is something I've noticed, any alveolar consonant (pronounced with the flesh ridge behind your teeth) is difficult if it isn't in your language, basically l and r sounds. For example the near impossible double ll sound of Welsh.

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