Do Asians have both /k/ and /ch/ sounds?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by diminished7th, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. diminished7th Senior Member

    Canada
    Farsi
    Hello everyone,
    In Farsi, we have exactly both /k/ and /ch/ sounds so I "think" I don't have any problems pronouncing either of them.
    However, I've experienced this three times with some Asian friends (Chinese and Korean). Although it sounds quite obvious to my ears, when I said "book" or "bike" they heard it as "booch" and "biche"!!!
    So I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and or maybe it's because they don't have these sounds in Chinese or Korean or of course, maybe my pronunciation of /k/ needs some corrections although like I said, the difference between /k/ and /ch/ is quite obvious in my mind but anyways I'm interested to know what you guys think.
    Thank you
    PS. I was thinking to post this in English Only section but then figured this place might be more appropriate ...
     
  2. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Asian" is very broad... There is such a variety of languages in Asia!
     
  3. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Farsi features marked palatalization of /k/ in word-final position which can confuse listeners not expecting this. I would re-do the experiment with words like cool or colour where /k/ is followed by a "dark" vowel.
     
  4. turkjey5 Senior Member

    English - USA
    Thai has both.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    When you say /ch/, I presume you mean /X/ rather than /ʧ/ ...
     
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Good question, actually.:) Given the fact that Chinese & related languages usually gave [tɕ] as the closest approximation to English [tʃ] and the Farsi palatalized /k/ (as in یک [jɛkʲ] = one - listen here) gets close to [tɕ], I can imagine that a Chinese might understand book pronounced with a Farsi accent like Butch.
     
  7. diminished7th Senior Member

    Canada
    Farsi
    Thank you guys. Especially this palatalization thing was really interesting and the example Berndf said "yek - یک" is exactly one of those which would have been confused by my friends if it was pronounced by me as an English word.
    I could never get the exact Chinese X. I used to think the Chinese X as in names like Xiao or Feixia is somehow between /s/ and /sh/. I'm almost positive the /ch - چ/ sound in Farsi is exactly like English as in "chair", "branch" and چهار and چرم but now that you said, I think this might be the case ...

    But anyways I have some questions:
    1- Native English speakers do not palatalize when pronouncing /k/ in "book" or "bike" as Farsi speakers do; right?
    2- In the link Berndf posted for hearing یک , that guy is palatalizing k, right?
    2- I'm not sure what palatalization means for book and bike! The example I read was "got you" but here we have nothing coming after /k/. So anyways, how can I not palatalize k in book or bike? I mean any tips or something?

    Thank you so much
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The Chinese <x> is pronounced [ɕ] and the affricate version, spelled <q> is pronounced [tɕ]. I agree that the Farsi چ is [tʃ], like the English <ch>. The Chinese [tɕ] is in between [tʃ] and [kʲ] (the /k/ of یک). It is quite possible that a Chinese would perceive [tʃ] as a very forward version of /tɕ/ and [kʲ] as a very backward version of /tɕ/.

    To your questions:
    Ad 1- Right.
    Ad 2- Right.
    Ad 3- Try to feel the position of your tongue when you say /k/ in یک and when you say کول. You will notice that point where you touch the dome of your mother is more forward in یک than in کول. In English, /k/ is always pronounced as if it was followed by. Maybe you could think of cuckoo when you want to say cook and gradually weaken the final [-u] until you can't hear it any more.
     
  9. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The palatalisation of /k/, not only finally, but in all positions is a prominent feature in some, but not all, Persian dialects. I know people who consistently say [tɕɒr] for kār. In Afghanistan (for example) they say [kɒr] and [yak].
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  10. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    You certainly know more about Persian than I do, but there are studies that confirm the predominance of the allophonic distribution Farsi the way I described it: The results confirmed that there is a significant contrast between fronted and non-fronted /k/ in different environments. /k/ is not fronted when immediately followed by a back vowel (u, o, ɑ); but some fronting occurs in every other environment (word-finally, and before any consonant and the vowels i, e, a). (Source)
     
  11. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The article by Jahani and Paul is based on the pronunciations of two speakers of Tehruni dialect. It is a mistake to think that all speakers of Persian talk like this.
     
  12. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Data from a number of other consultants was also elicited during February 2006 and October 2007 from students in their twenties at the University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan. (op.cit.)
     
  13. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Yes, I know. The Tehran dialect is emulated as a standard colloquial by certain strata of society throughout Iran (especially in traditionally non-Persian-speaking areas like Baluchistan). All I am saying is that "tehruni" has not replaced all other dialects in Iran, and certainly not in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. My authority for [tɕɒr], by the way, is a professor at Tehran Univeristy, native of Shiraz.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  14. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Ah, ok. I agree with this, of course.:)
     
  15. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    The way "k"ک is treated in (Tehrani) Persian is almost similar to "c" in English. If it is before "o,a,u" it is pronounced /k/. Otherwise it is near to /tɕ/. The same is true for "g"گ.
    If you speak to people who differentiate between them or similar sounds, they will think you are using another sound. An example is the pronunciation of "snitch" and "switch". For English people the pronunciation of "s" is almost the same in both, but as a Persian you may hear "esnatch" and "suatch".
    This is opposite to when a language does not have a sound so understand it as something it has. Like "th" that is understood as "d" in many Persian dialects.
     
  16. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    For me it sounds like an English ‘ch’ in ‘chicken’, or Spanish ‘ch’ in ‘chico’. No wonder that non Farsi speakers, independent of their native language, don’t connect the sound with a ‘k’. Why should they?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  17. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    To my ears, [tʃ] ("strong palatalization" of [k]) and [kʲ] ("weak palatalization" of [k]) are markedly different. I find it very interesting that you as a Polish speaker, a language with more palatal sound than my native German, consider them the same. But it proves my point.:)
     
  18. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    I must say that the sound quality of the recording is not very good, so maybe I haven’t grasped the sound quite precisely. Assuming that you are familiar with the Polish sounds I can tell that the final consonant sounds for me like something between Polish ‘cz’ and ‘ć’. To give more background: the German (North) ‘ch’ in ‘ich’ I hear as something between Polish ‘ch’ in ‘chirurg” and ‘ś’, but with a wider gap between the tongue and the palate.
     
  19. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    I, as a bilingual in Chinese and Italian, have a completely different perception of these consonants.
    For me the Chinese <j> [tɕ] is like an unvoiced [dʒ] but "harder" than [tʃ].
    While I pronounce the Chinese <q> [tɕʰ] and the English [tʃ] exactly the same.
    And <x> [ɕ] for me it's the same as the English [ʃ].
    Being [tʃ] and [ʃ] Italian phonemes too.

    If it's worthy, in Chinese historical phonology [k]>[tɕ] is very common in many dialects, especially in Mandarin.
    Many words that are pronounced with a /tɕ/ consonants were pronounced with /k/ in Middle Chinese, and still are in some Southern dialects, e.g. Cantonese, Min and Hakka (to a lesser extend Wu).
     
  20. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    In what you said, I see nothing in here what contradicts what has been said before, except that the the passages in bold imply that you perceive <j> as harder than <q> which I find very surprising.

    The question that interest us in the context of this thread is how you perceive the final Farsi [kʲ] (see link in #6).
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  21. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Since Persian is not foreign to me my understanding of this phenomenon cannot be representative of a perception of some Asian of this sound who is not familiar with this language at all. For the completeness, the question whether there is both [k] and [ch] in my [Asian] language should be answered affirmatively. There is a clear difference in pronunciation between the guttural and palatal vowels.

    Re. the Modern Colloquial Persian palatalization of [k], I came across speakers' pronunciation which went far further than the recording linked to in post #6, nearing [ch] so I can understand the confusion of persons that are not familiar with it and on the other hand the uncertainty in this respect of the OP who apparently does palatalize his Ks without having realized it before.

    As a matter of fact, I can hear a slight aspiration in the recording which is attached to post #6.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2013
  22. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    So do I; as a matter of fact, this makes it even closer to the Chinese <q> which YoungFun identified with the English <ch>.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  23. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Well, I don't know anything about Chinese so I hope other friends can comment on this but I'm still reassured that I was not hearing 'voices'!
     
  24. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    It is the way they transliterate foreign words.If you want the sound K in Book and Bike(in Chinese), try to change the vowel of OO to o and the i/ai to eh so the book become B-ok and Bike become B-ek.
     
  25. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    So do I, too. But I still hear it as an aspirated k, not ch. Though a strange k, as I don't have palatalized k's in my language(s).
     
  26. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I've heard in to meantime from another English speaker that he hears a [tʃ]. I personally perceive it as [kç]. It is probably the phonemic opposition of /ʃ/ and /ç/ in my language and which doesn't exist in English (except for some accents of Scots) that prevents me from perceiving the "weak palatalization" of /k/ as [tʃ].
     

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