All Slavic languages: How to pronounce palatized consonants?

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by vince, May 31, 2006.

  1. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Hello everyone,

    I'm asking this question in the Slavic section because most Slavic languages seem to have palatized consonants, even though non-Slavic languages like Magyar and Japanese seem to have them too.

    I was wondering if someone could tell me by either showing me a diagram or a series of steps on how to move the tongue, on how to produce palatized consonants.

    I think I can almost pronounce d', t', n', and l', but for letters like v', p', f', m' and b', the point of articulation is nowhere near the palate, so I don't see how to pronounce both the consonant and "j" (the English "y" sound) at the same time. Where are these articulated? Everytime I try to say Russian "Privet", people tell me I am saying "Priv-yet", which is wrong.

    What am I doing wrong?
  2. sanja1380

    sanja1380 New Member

    Can't you say simply privièt!!!

    I'm sorry I couldn't find out a diagram, you should articulate palatal consonants by raising your tongue to the middle part of the palat (hard palat)...but this is purely theory!!!

    Try to listen carefully to mother tongue's the best way to understand phonetic rules (pa moemù);) !!!
  3. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I was wondering more or less the same. Would it be right to say that dya, tya, nya, etc. are good first approximations to the actual sounds of d'a, t'a, n'a...?
  4. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Approximations yes, but nothing more. :) I would certainly not recommend that learners start with dya and than proceed to ďa. Dya won't help them learn it correctly but it is a logical substitute for the correct sound in communication in case they do not plan to learn the correct pronunciation.

    A learner needs to push the front part of the tongue against the upper palate. The tip of your tongue has to touch your front teeth.

  5. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I tried, and I can usually hear the difference

    but I cannot yet produce the difference!
    How are the following pronounced differently: m', mj, and m?

    The problem sounds I listed in my above post I chose specifically because I don't see why putting your tongue against the palate would much of a difference since the articulation is somewhere else.
  6. Marijka

    Marijka Member

    Lublin/Eastern Poland
  7. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The point of the 'y' in the transliteration 'dya' is that when you say 'y' your tongue is in just the right place for saying the palatalized consonant. To say 'd'a' you have to say the d and y AT THE SAME TIME. Of course, the 'd' sound is instantaneous, so you are bound to continue the 'y' sound for a short while afterwards: just don't make it so long that it sounds like a separate letter.

    Maybe this is all easier for English people than Canadians. We palatalize many consonants in a few words before 'u', e.g. d in 'due': this is how we distinguish 'do' and 'due'. I'm not sure if its the same in Canada.
  8. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    those are not palatized consonants, if you look at the IPA inscription, you will see "new" is [nju] and "due" is [dju] for British English and some varieties of American and Canadian English. These are not the same as d'u (ДЮ) and n'u (НЮ). French also has "j" following consonants: "lieu" (lj2), mienne (mjEn), sioux (sju) etc. but these are not true palatized consonants either.

    d', t', n' and l' don't seem too diffucult though I'm not sure whether I myself am pronouncing them right. If n' and l' are the same as European Spanish/Portuguese/Italian ñ/nh/gn and ll/lh/gli, then I'm getting them right. But consider v' (вь), p' (пь), f' (фь), m' (мь) and b' (бь), wherever I put my tongue in my mouth, v, p, f, m, and b sound the same, so I don't get how to produce distinct palatizations for these sounds. Do Slavic speakers really pronounce both p/f/m/b and j at the same time? Try holding the m' sound for a couple seconds, do you hear the j throughout or only at the end? Try the same for p', f', and b'.
  9. cajzl Senior Member

    There are no palatalized consonants in the Czech language, only the following palatals:

    plosives: Ď, Ť
    nasal: Ň
    approximant: J

    The old palatalized consonants either have changed into the non-palatalized ones or are pronounced with the inserted iota:

    e.g. bě, pě, vě, mě, fě /bje, pje, vje, mje, fje/

    The palatalized R' has changed into the unique consonant Ř (r'eka -> řeka).

    When learning Russian (compulsorily) the Czech children usually used to pronounce the palatalized Russian consonants in the Czech way (i.e. non-palatalized plus iota). Some teachers were furious, the majority was phlegmatic.
  10. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    OK, Vince you've convinced me! Speakers from England pronounce 'due' as dju: or d3u:, and d'u: is different. If I feel carefully I can sense my tongue hopping up between d and j.
  11. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    So any tips on how to pronounce these "palatalized labial consonants"?

    v', p', f', m' and b'

    No matter where I place the tongue, the sound comes out the same. There must be some special way of placing the tongue or moving the air through the throat that I am not getting.

    If only there was a site like this one:
    that shows animations of mouth diagrams, sound recordings, videos of native speakers, and step-by-step diagrams

    but for Russian consonants!
  12. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    There are so many Russians in Toronto, grab a native speaker and get him pronounce the sounds for you! :)

    Sorry, but if explanations don't help you need to listen for it. You can also try some audio recordings for learners.

    This site supports .wav attachements. Can someone record examples, please?
  13. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    You can listen to these samples of Russian, that contrast the plain vs. palatalized consonants. They might help.

    From what I've read, palatalized consonants do involve making two sounds at the same time: the main sound plus lifting the middle of the tongue towards the roof of the mouth. Wikipedia has an article about it that might help too. A useful comparsion might be clear vs. dark l in English, where in the dark l, there's a secondary motion of the the middle of your tongue towards the back part of the roof of your mouth. But this means n' and l' should not be the same as Italian gn and gli since the latter are palatal consonants and are just a single sound, and in the examples I linked to above, the n' and l' do sound slightly different than the palatal sounds I'm used to in Greek, although that might just be the difference between the Russian and Greek accent.
  14. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    The thing is, I would like an adecuate explanation on how to pronounce them like the site I linked to does for English, Spanish, and German.

    I can hear the difference but I would like to know how the tongue and air move.

    This seems to make sense for d, t, n, and l, but as I said earlier, I don't see how moving the tongue affects the pronunciation of labial consonants like v, f, b, and m.
  15. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Very interesting, thanks. I don't think I would be able to tell the difference between d'a, t'a and dya, tya, etc., without some training.
    On the other hand, n' does sound like the ñ of Romance languages.
  16. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    Have you tried saying [vvvvvv] and while doing that moving your tongue like you do when you say [j]? You do create a different sound, which makes sense since you're creating a new obstruction for the air flow.

    About that site, I just came across it recently as it's a site linked to a book on phonetics I took out of the library. It has a bunch of samples from all sorts of languages to explain the various phonetic topics the book covers, and it's really nice to have everything collected there. But distinguishing some of these sounds is almost impossible for me too, even if I've read about the different ways they're pronounced.
  17. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    No, I get the same sound. There must be some modification of air flow that I am neglecting to do. I do not get any sound that sounds anything like [j].

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