Distinguishing between ط and ت

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Andrew___, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    May I ask, is there really a difference in sound between:

    إطلاق and

    I mean, does anyone agree that when there is a sukuun above the ط or ت, the difference in pronounciation between ت and ط is barely noticeable, if at all?

    Does any non-native share my opinion on this?
  2. Outlandish

    Outlandish Senior Member

    The sound /ت / is produced when the tip of the tongue touches the roots of the upper teeth or the alveolar ridge. The tongue lightly touches this place so that a whispering sound is produced and that the breath is uninterruptedly flowing. It is voiceless.

    To produce a / ط / you have to make some effort. You will not allow the flow of breath when pronouncing it. You have to round your lips and stretch them forward a little so that air is supressed and the sound is voiced. When you pronounce it, your tongue is slower here than with the production of a ت .
    Notice that you force the air from the right and left sides of your tongue with force. That is the difficulty; with the ت the air simply goes out, with the ط the air is forcibly kept in.

    Confusion stems from the fact that people usually exert less effort and produce a ط which is more to a ت than a ط in reality. In the recitations of the Quran, the reciters try to produce a full ط.
  3. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Thank you Outlandish for your thoughts :thumbsup:
  4. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English

    As a non-native I don't share that opinion. I think there's a very clear difference between the two. I often think of 'tick tock' to differentiate. ت sounds more like the t in tick and ط sounds more like t in tock.
  5. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member

    Well one thing you should notice if you hear the words pronounced correctly is that the "emphatic" ط will change the nature of the vowel that comes after it. For example, the aleph in طاب will be "deeper" or more "rounded" than the one in تاب.

    Also, if the ط is followed by a ر or ل (as is the case with إطلاق), the ر or ل will often be emphasized as well (in Arabic, we would say that the ر or ل has become مفخـّمة). For example, the ر in طرب is not the same as the ر in ترب. Even if it's not مفخمة, the emphasis will still transfer over the following aleph. So you'll get iTloq v. itlaq
  6. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    :confused: how do you pronounce tock!!

    The difference is that the تاء is pronounced with a whispering sound (in Arabic حرف مهموس) while the طاء is not; what is meant by "whispering sound" (my literal translation) is that in the former the air goes out when you pronounce it as outlandish mentioned in a way that it seems like a whisper while the latter does not have such a case.

    I know that I did not add technically to what Outlandish described, but I just thought that thinking about it as a whisper may help.

    Anyway, in the example you mention (إطلاق - إتلاق), I clearly distinguish the two.
  7. Abu Rashid

    Abu Rashid Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Australian English
    like ط of course :)
  8. clevermizo Senior Member

    San Diego, CA
    English (USA), Spanish
    Yep. Technically in English this is called aspiration. I'm happy to now have learned the Arabic term:D, but that's not the only difference between ت and ط. But there is obviously a combination of traits that make the two sound distinct. I for one have no problem distinguishing them.
  9. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    Oh I see Wadi. This point is fascinating.
  10. المعتصم

    المعتصم Member

    Arabic (palestinian)
    Just to add something: you have to know the differences between letters or you'll change the meaning of everything:
    اطلاق means shooting (from طلق)
    اتلاق means easy talking (from تلق "as talk")
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2009
  11. clevermizo Senior Member

    San Diego, CA
    English (USA), Spanish
    This sound of لـ for example is also present in the word الله which does not sound like a "plain" لـ, but is an "emphatic" لـ.

    Basically the co-articulation of raising the back of the tongue while the tip of the tongue executes the sound is what creates the "strong" or "hollow" noise of the consonants ط، ص، ض، ظ and the lack of aspiration in them as Maha mentioned. Wadi is referring to the "spreading" of this feature of raised (or retracted) back tongue. Basically you can consider that most consonants in Arabic can be مفخمة and this feature occurs in the presence of the emphatic phonemes. It is potentially unbounded and can spread throughout the entire word containing a ط، ص، ض or ظ. In some dialects this even occurs in consonants outside the traditional four. For example in Syrian, بابا (dad) and بابها (her/its door) are almost a minimal pair, except the difference in بـ and the sound of the ـا which is thereby affected: BaaBa vs. baaba.
  12. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    I don't understand, if it's "voiced", then it'd be a ض, isn't it?:confused:

    The Hans Wehr glosses mahmuus as "voiceless". Perhaps because the plosives in Arabic are either "voiceless+aspirated" or "voiced+unaspirated", the features being closely connected, so the same term can mean both "voiceless" and "aspirated"?

    I think in Egyptian a similiar example of minimal pair is gaari "my neighbour" vs gaari "running; current".
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009

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