Pinyin pronunciation: b, g, d

Boileau419

Senior Member
Français
Well, maybe this will come as a shock to you, but the pronunciation of 不, 贵 and 大, three words that are extremely frequent in Chinese, does not tally at all with the pinyin transliteration you are familiar with, namely bu, gui and da (except in a few cases).

Indeed, the initial consonant in these words is p, k and t without any puff of air released, in other words as French (or Spanish) p, k and t.

Therefore don't pronounce 我不去 or 不好看 as English 'boo", but as French "pou".

贵吗 is French "kwei ma" and not "gwei ma". The "g" in 规定 is also a French "k".

大不大?should be pronounced as French "ta bou ta". Not as Russian word for "yes".
Note that here 不 is pronounced with a "b" sound, as also in 我去不了! But this "b" definitely becomes a French "p" if you answer a question : 你去吗?不去啊!他帅吗?不! 他长得跟鳄鱼似的。

Words like 部队 and 布置 are also pronounced with a non plosive "p" (instead of "b"),whereas 步 is sometimes pronounced "b" as in 散散步, sometimes pronounced "p",as in 一步一步来吧.

The most interesting case is 爸爸. It is actually pronounced "paba" (this spelling reflects the consonants of Romance languages!) : the first pinyin "b" is really a non plosive "p", whereas the second is a normal "b". In 我爸在家 you hear a French "p".

Chinese people (even if they have learnt French) are utterly incapable of hearing these differences (and will therefore deny the above distinctions) but they are real. I have "grilled" many native teachers of Chinese on this particular point in Beijing. To my surprise, not a single one was aware of the problem, and while some could be brought to hear these fine nuances (one of them did know the special 爸爸 case, but was incapable of explaining it), most simply couldn't.

The people who devised the pinyin system, taking their clues from English pronunciation, in which there are no non plosive p's, k's and t's, completely ignored this complex question. It means of course that Chinese has more consonantal sounds than previously assumed.

Let me add that if you pronounce these words as in pinyin, Chinese people will understand you (they don't hear the differences themselves although they make them), but your pronunciation won't be perfect,地地道道。
 
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  • Geysere

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    贵吗 is French "kwei ma" and not "gwei ma". The "g" in 规定 is also a French "k".
    How about "亏", is it also French "k"? I do have problems with the French consonants, for example when I hear different people say the word "comme", sometimes it sounds like "g" in pinyin, other times it sounds like "k". The t in "tu" is also confusing, should it be pronounced as "t" or "j" or "d"? I think I've heard all of them before :confused:
     
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    palomnik

    Senior Member
    English
    I didn't realize that this was a surprise. The fact that Pinyin uses "b", "g" and "d" in these positions is just a matter of spelling convention. Pinyin makes no claim to be phonetic.

    This is why the old Wade-Giles transliteration system used "ta" for 大 and "t'a" for 他, and likewise for the other aspirated/unaspirated pairs.
     

    Boileau419

    Senior Member
    Français
    How about "亏", is it also French "k"? I do have problems with the French consonants, for example when I hear different people say the word "comme", sometimes it sounds like "g" in pinyin, other times it sounds like "k". The t in "tu" is also confusing, should it be pronounced as "t" or "j" or "d"? I think I've heard all of them before :confused:

    幸亏的kui is a normal English "k" sound. In French the hard "k" sound (as in "comme") is never a plosive.
     
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    linguistz

    New Member
    English
    Therefore don't pronounce 我不去 or 不好看 as English 'boo", but as French "pou".

    大不大?should be pronounced as French "ta bou ta". Not as Russian word for "yes".
    Note that here 不 is pronounced with a "b" sound, as also in 我去不了! But this "b" definitely becomes a French "p" if you answer a question : 你去吗?不去啊!他帅吗?不! 他长得跟鳄鱼似的。

    The most interesting case is 爸爸. It is actually pronounced "paba" (this spelling reflects the consonants of Romance languages!) : the first pinyin "b" is really a non plosive "p", whereas the second is a normal "b". In 我爸在家 you hear a French "p".

    Thanks for the very interesting observation, Boileau419.

    However, I must say that the subtle differences in whether the "b"s are plosive or non-plosive arise because of the different tones needed in mandarin chinese. The third tone for example, requires a very low voice (and therefore slower airflow) which naturally makes the "b" sound more plosive than the "b" in the fourth tone.

    Let's compare "爸爸" and "paribas". I must say that I can only hear two non-plosive "b"s (or "p"s in french) in the first example,an d a non-plosive "p" and a plosive "b" in the second.
     

    fffa4lulua

    Member
    Taiwan, Mandarin/Taiwanese
    I agree with some previous statement(s) that the intention of Hanyu Pinyin was to spell out the language in a systematical way, not exactly for pronounciation.
    Or otherwise how do you explain 'q' and 'x' in Hanyu Pinyin?
    (for example 'qiao' will most likely to be pronounce by English speaker with no Chinese knowledge as 'kee-aoo', and 'xin' or 'xiao' is pretty much unpronounceable).
     

    Boileau419

    Senior Member
    Français
    You must mean "never aspirated". It's always a plosive!

    Yes, I meant that French "k" is not pronounced like the "c" in the English word "case".

    Let's compare "爸爸" and "paribas". I must say that I can only hear two non-plosive "b"s (or "p"s in french) in the first example,an d a non-plosive "p" and a plosive "b" in the second.

    French "Paribas" has the same combination of p and b as 爸爸, an unaspirated "p" followed by a "b".
     
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    DavidCornell

    Senior Member
    China, Mandarin
    Boileau419:
    Your observations are really nice. But I'd like to point out a few things, some of which have been made by other people in this thread.

    1. Hanyu Pinyin is its own system. The letters do not correspond to English pronunciations, nor French pronunciations. These letters have their own phonological descriptions, which can be represented in IPA symbols.

    2. There is a distinction between a phoneme and its allophones. This distinction is a basic notion in structural linguistics. Actually the Hanyu Pinyin was devised by Chinese linguists well-trained in the structuralist linguistics. Therefore the same Pinyin letter b only represents a phoneme, and it can be pronounced differently in different situations.

    3. The b,d,g series of consonants in Mandarin are described as sounds in between a true voiced consonant and a true unaspirated voiceless consonant, i.e. the Mandarin b is pronounced in between the English b and the Japanese p. As for the French p, I think it is sometimes aspirated, and sometimes unaspirated as the Japanese p. So the real IPA symbol for the Chinese b,d,g would have a small circle underneath each letter.

    4. As for the pronunciation of baba, intervocalic b tends to become a real voiced consonant. That is why you hear the French b for the second letter b in "baba". As for the first letter b, it is still the devoiced b with a circle, which is similar to the French p.

    5. The reason why native Mandarin speakers can't hear the difference between the two b's in "baba" is that the distinction is not phonemic, i.e. there is no such a distinction between and [p] in Mandarin. The constrast between consonants in Mandarin is primarily aspiration.

    6. I don't think the Chinese b is equivalent to the French p, or the Japanese p. The Chinese b has more voicing than p. At least I think so.
     

    gentilhom

    Senior Member
    français
    Very interesting information.
    I find absurd the notion that pinyin does not strive to reflect the actual pronunciation of Chinese.
    I suppose that the inventors of pinyin were obsessed with English phonetics and they just disregarded the difference referred to in this thread they just weren't aware of it since Chinese people don't hear it.
     
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    It seems to me that, the acoustic characteristics of stop consonants in natural languages are very complex.

    VOT is often technically used to classify voiced/unvoiced stops, but it's not the case in real speech.

    According to my observation, Japanese word-initial b/d/g are often technically voiceless, English word-initial b/d/g are almost voiceless.
    I had a test with a native Portuguese speaker and he tended to perceive low-pitched unaspirated p/t/k as voiced consonants.
    When I was analyzing my sound record, I found my aspirated and unaspirated consonants were often mixed up. But I was not aware of it and my brain automatically fixed these errors when I heard them.

    Our auditory sensation is so unreliable that, without instruments and technical methods, it would be difficult to describe how a sound is produced.

    As far as what I can say,

    Chinese stops are a little "tense", maybe involve some degree of glottalization.

    The first tone and forth tone tend to be tense.
    The second tone and third tone tend to be lax.
    The first syllable of a phrase is never voiced.
    The second syllable of 大不大 and 爸爸 is neutral tone, therefor is often voiced.

    But when you speak fast, or the syllable is unstressed, the consonant tends to be laxer (and tends to be voiced).

    It's interesting that,
    if you are tense, stressed, or upset it causes your vocal cords to become tight and to shorten.
    If your vocal cords are tight, they will produce higher frequencies.
    Maybe that's why the 1st and 4th tone are less likely to be voiced.

    I think pronouncing every stop as voiceless consonant is definitely natural and 地道.
    Replacing some unvoiced consonants with voiced ones can make you sound relaxed.
     
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    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    Nop to the starter. I agree with other native Mandarin speakers. First of all, Pinyin is a unique system for marking Mandarin pronunciations only, which technically only follows its own rules. It uses letters that similar to European phonetics just for practical reason, but, of course they can't be all the same.

    To a native speaker, Pinyin marks exactly what a character sounds. If you get it differently, either you haven't mastered the real Mandarin pronunciations, or you haven't mastered the Pinyin rules.

    To our native Mandarin speakers ears, it's often the English phonetic alphabet who should be modified (I don't know French). When you say "speed", it's obviously not "s-pee-d" but "s-bee-d"...Although this isn't right to say either. It's the result applying Pinyin rules to English.
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Pinyin <p> corresponds to [pʰ] (as in English pin) and <b> to [p] (as in English spin).
    Pinyin <t> corresponds to [tʰ] (as in English ting) and <d> to [t] (as in English sting).
    Pinyin <k> corresponds to [kʰ] (as in English kin) and <g> to [k] (as in English skin).
    Why is [p] written as <b>, [t] as <d>, and [k] as <g>? I think there are at least three reasons:
    1. To avoid confusion with <p> ([pʰ]), <t> ([tʰ]), and <k> ([kʰ]).
    2. To reflect the fact that [p], [t], and [k] have voiced allophones.
    3. To reflect the fact that many of the Mandarin [p-], [t-], and [k-] words actually come from voiced consonants in Middle Chinese (e.g., 白 Middle Chinese bɐk > Mandarin [pai] Pinyin <bai>).
     

    gentilhom

    Senior Member
    français
    To a native speaker, Pinyin marks exactly what a character sounds. If you get it differently, either you haven't mastered the real Mandarin pronunciations, or you haven't mastered the Pinyin rules.

    Oh yes, Chinese people are told that 去 is written qu, that's that. And then, that 爸爸 is written baba, although it is pronounced paba.
    It has nothing to do with naturally associating the letter q or b with a particular sound in their language. This is just a convention and 后天. If pinyin allowed for latin (non plosive) p k and t, they would find it just as evident.

    So pinyin is defective in representing the real pronunciation. 加油 自我批评 天天向上 :D

    The fact is that foreigners who pronounce 爸爸 like baba are not pronouncing the word as it should and are therefore misled by pinyin. This may not cause them a lot of inconvenience since this difference is not crucial, but as long as they don't know it, their pronunciation will not be 地道. It is really a pity that most teachers of Chinese don't tell their students about this nice point of pronunciation, but the fact is they are not even remotely aware of the problem. Besides, I wonder if anyone has elucidated the rules : when 不 is pronounced b and when as Italian or French p.

    You don't seem to know that the English alphabet is not phonetical at all. Writing systems don't have to. Transliteration systems like pinyin should. To compare the English writing system with pinyin makes therefore no sense at all.

    Since 99.999 per cent of Chinese people don't hear the difference we are talking about, I am only moderately impressed by your skills in real Mandarin "pronunciations" 哈哈. It happens that 老外 sometimes know more than natives about the Chinese language (this happens with all languages) and I have been told so by Chinese people themselves, who unfortunately don't care much about language (except when it comes to learning English:(), which is a real pity.
     
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    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    gentilhom:
    1. It's clearly written in the Pinyin rule that ü should be written as u when it meat j, q, x. We were even asked to memorize a childish rhyme for this rule when we were in school. It's like "ü见j q x,脱帽敬个礼"...
    They were not making rules for no reason. The reason was that there was no "j q x+u[wu]" in Mandarin. Only then the dots in ü were canceled.
    And what do you mean by 后天?

    2. I don't know how French or Italian pronounce p and b. But after some research, I think I may understand your question now.
    Chinese "b, d, g" are close to "tenuis consonants", which are basically equal to "unvoiced, unaspirated p, t, k". They are not the same to some European "voiced b,d,g".
    I'll try to make it simple: Chinese b,d,g and p,t,k are not distinguished by their "loudness", but whether they are "aspirated" or not.

    3. I think it's OK for you to treat b as p. But if you insist the two consonants in 爸爸 are not the same, I'm sure you are wrong.
    Their tones often shift when people say 爸爸. But the consonants and vowels should be the same regardless.
    In Pinyin, paba is 怕爸. OK now, assuming we all follow your new definitions, how should we distinguish 怕爸 and 爸爸 then? How do you identify unaspirated consonants from the aspirated ones?

    4. Of course I know English alphabet is not phonetic. When I said "phonetic alphabet", I meant phonetic transcription systems like IPA and such. I wrote s-bee-d only because you may not read IPA! How do you think we studied English words when there we were in school? We read IPA!
    Because there is no 涿塞音 or similar "voiced b,d,g" in Chinese, AND, English phonetic alphabet usually don't distinguish "unvoiced" b,d,g, nor "unaspirated" p,t,k, these often cause misunderstandings between the the phonetic systems.

    You may also be insterested in this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless
    Lack of voicing contrast in obstruents
    Many languages lack a distinction between voiced and voiceless obstruents (stops, affricates, and fricatives). This is nearly universal in Dravidian languages and Australian languages, but is widely found elsewhere, for example in Mandarin Chinese... In many such languages, obstruents are realized as voiced in voiced environments, such as between vowels or between a vowel and a nasal, and voiceless elsewhere, such as at the beginning or end of the word or next to another obstruent. This is the case for example for Dravidian, Australian, and Korean, but not in Mandarin or Polynesian...
     
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    Boileau419

    Senior Member
    Français
    The word bendan 笨蛋 is pronounced with unaspirated p (as in 'speed'). The initial sound has very little to do with 'b' (voiced stop). Such an important distinction should not be neglected.

    I was not asking for an overhaul of pinyin. My aim was to tell foreign speakers of putonghua (specially those who speak Romance languages) to pay attention to this fine point of Chinese phonetics. This is also useful when teaching a Romance language to Chinese people, but my own experience is that most people do not hear the difference between 'b' and unaspirated 'p'.

    Chinese has therefore a contrast between voiced and mute stops, just as French has, but it is not relevant for the meaning of words. That's all. No need for drama...
     
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    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Your comments are not fair to others, Boileau. You take it upon yourself to debunk a myth which, however, doesn't exist in the first place. If you've time, you may want to reread the posts, especially post#10 by DavidCornell.
     

    Boileau419

    Senior Member
    Français
    People who are lucky enough to have mute stops in their own language will soon realize that Chinese putonghua is indeed full of them. Because they are allophones doesn't mean you can disregard them. Besides, it is much easier to pronounce 笨蛋 with a French 'p'. Try to pronounce a 'b' as in 'baby' and you will see how easier it is to say 'p'. If Chinese people switch to mute stops, there must be a reason.
     
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    Chinese is not French.
    Pinyin doesn't need to reflect differences that only make sence for a small group of foreigners.

    A spelling you feel more confortable with can't change anything.

    You can't prounounce if you don't learn.
    You pronounce wrongly if you learn wrongly.

    Edit:
    It seems that the last post I replied to has been edited.
    This is the new reply:
    As I mentioned an earlier post, human's feeling is unreliable and sounds we make are complex.

    It hard to decide whether p and b is more easier.
    If your both your b and p are quite relaxed, then p is usually easier because voicing requires more efforts.

    However, in languages like Chinese and Korean, unvoiced consonats are quite tense, involves glottalization, voiced consonant is obviously more easier.

    Voiced stops at the word initial position require prevoicing, is the hardest to pronounce.

    The contrast between voiced and voiceless is extemly hard when it's realized in a langauge.
    It can't be exactly represented by several symbols.
    As you are just approximating the real sound, then it doesn't really matter how good the symbols are.
     
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    Boileau419

    Senior Member
    Français
    I'm sorry if you can't hear the mute stops, but they are there. I have lived in China among people who study the language long enough to know what I am talking about. For us, mute stops are very easy to discern.

    I repeat : this thread is not meant to change the pronunciation of native speakers or to bring pinyin into disrepute.

    对中国人这个问题根本不存在。他们的发音没有任何问题。提这个问题只对外国人有意义。中国人如果不去培养自己的听力听不出来 p t k, 我教中国人法语我能不知道吗?但实际上 爸爸 笨蛋 部队,很多词里面有这些音。但不是phonemes。在这里发帖子的人基本上都认为确实汉语里面有mute stops。拼音没有特殊的符号是个遗憾。但既然中国人自然而然就能发出来mute stops,实际上没有必要加新的符号, 但你教外国人中国话的发音的时候你得知道存在着这么一个问题。 这最起码是我的观点。
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Chinese has therefore a contrast between voiced and mute stops, just as French has, but it is not relevant for the meaning of words.
    It is difficult to understand what you are trying to say. It is the very meaning of the term "contrast" in phonology that it is relevant for meaning.

    What do you mean by a mute stop? Do you mean voiceless?
     
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    Youngfun

    Senior Member
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    He probably means voiceless.
    Chinese phoneticians sometimes double the pinyin consonants to represent the voiced one: bb , dd [d], gg [g].
    Voiced stops are allophones/free variations that occur mainly in light tones*, and in lazy relaxed speech, especially by Northern speakers. If you tell them to repeat the word carefully, they would pronounce it voiceless.
    But in Chinese voiced/voiceless is not distinctive.

    *in your first post, all your examples of voiced stops occur in light tone. And not all Chinese speakers, not always, pronounce them voiced.

    And in French aspiration is not distinctive. Have you noticed that premier, trois and croissant are slightly aspirated?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    And in French aspiration is not distinctive. Have you noticed that premier, trois and croissant are slightly aspirated?
    Usually yes but not consistently. As a German, I distinguish b/p, d/t and g/k by aspiration rather than by voicing, just as Chinese do and it is less difficult for me to correctly identify soft and hard plosives in French than in Italian.

    The problem is that voiced-unvoiced-aspirated is not a clear-cut trichotomy but are segment on a continuous scale. Languages that distinguish "soft" and "hard" plosives place the limit differently, sometimes only slightly differently which causes mis-perceptions by foreign speakers to occur almost randomly because the natural variation that may be insignificant in one language crosses the border in another and that seems to be the problem here in comparing French and Chinese plosives.
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    As a German, I distinguish b/p, d/t and g/k by aspiration rather than by voicing, just as Chinese do
    It applies to many English speakers as well. I actually tested on an American friend last night and discovered he had difficulty in distinguishing unaspirated [p] from . I had him listen to French pronunciations on Youtube and he insisted he heard when it was in fact [p]. I also asked him to spell my pronunciation of 笨蛋 and 台北, and he wrote for both. He asked me why 台北 is conventionally spelled as Taipei, not Taibei (which in his mind is closer to the "true" pronunciation).
    Pinyin doesn't need to reflect differences that only make sence for a small group of foreigners.
    If we make one group (e.g., French speakers) happy, another group (e.g., English speakers) may not like it. One simple way to solve the problem: Those who like Romanization (e.g., Taipei, Peijing vs. Pinyin Taibei, Beijing) may choose Taiwan as their place of study :p.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    It applies to many English speakers as well.
    Indeed, and to speakers of other Germanic languages as well. The interesting thing is that most speakers are not aware of this and perceive non-aspirated plosives as voiced.

    There is one difference between Germanic "soft" plosives and Chinese non-aspirated ones: Germanic b/d/g are lenis while p/t/k are fortis. As far as I can tell, there is no significant difference in energy between Chinese non-aspirated plosive (at least a less pronounced one); both would be perceived as fortis in Germanic languages. Therefore, the <b>s in 笨蛋 and 台北 sound a bit untypically "hard" for our ears.
     
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    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    大家好:

    语言学家说汉语拼音的/b/ in 不、/d/ in 度、/g/ in 国是清音,而英语的/b/ in bay, /d/ in deed, /g/ in go 是浊音。
    我耳朵不灵光,感觉不出它们的差别。我觉得我发英语的/b/、/d/、/g/ 与汉语的一样,看来我一直是错的。

    我有一个美国朋友,他普通话说的不错,按说他发汉语的/b/、/d/、/g/ 应当受他母语的影响,但我从未觉得他发汉语的/b/、/d/、/g/ 有问题。他的主要问题是声调不准,而不是在这三个音上。

    如果你发汉语的/b/、/d/、/g/ ,声带不震动,也不送气,你还能听到自己的声音么?你可以试着发一发,不要带其他元音。我自己试了试,我都听不到自己的声音了。

    你是如何区别汉语的这三音和英语的那三音?
     
    听不出就对了。因为英语b d g经常清化,普通话b d g经常浊化。总之两语言的都不是纯粹清浊的分别。
    我觉得可能是为了精确控制音高和送气,普通话的喉咙比较紧张。外语的喉咙比较放松,比较适合发浊音。

    如果你发汉语的/b/、/d/、/g/ ,声带不震动,也不送气,你还能听到自己的声音么?你可以试着发一发,不要带其他元音。我自己试了试,我都听不到自己的声音了。
    就是听不到的。这也其实是中国人难理解的地方。闭塞音的关键不在于张嘴,而在于闭嘴。所以不发音就是发音了。对应的浊音则是闭着嘴巴的时候就发音。

    你可以听听日语的浊音,微清晰一点。(但词首也经常清化)
    http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/清音と濁音の区別.3022489/
     

    Messquito

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    大家好:
    如果你发汉语的/b/、/d/、/g/ ,声带不震动,也不送气,你还能听到自己的声音么?你可以试着发一发,不要带其他元音。我自己试了试,我都听不到自己的声音了。

    你是如何区别汉语的这三音和英语的那三音?

    據我觀察中文裡有 b d g 拼音者會經常有濁音的情況的就只有「的」這個字,其他都是發無氣清音

    其實說是無氣,但是說話怎麼能沒有氣呢?其實應該說是氣的量差別而已,以塞爆音p為例,它的發音先嘴唇閉起來塞住,然後用氣推,讓嘴唇像爆開般張開,聲音就發出來了,而根據我的觀察,有氣音的p,在嘴唇爆開後氣還是有持續衝出來,也就是嘴唇張開後還有送氣一小段時間(語言學說的送氣大概就是指這裡),而無氣的p,則是嘴唇一爆開來就沒氣音了,你可以把手放在嘴巴前感覺看看,你用力說怕的時候,會感覺氣持續比較久,但是用力說爸的時候,氣就只有那一瞬間,就像泡泡破掉一樣。
    語言學說的送氣,應該就是指主動把氣吐出來的一個動作,所以一開始爆出來的氣應該不算,有了這個觀念後你再試ㄧ次,用氣用力將嘴唇擠爆開,然後一爆開氣就止住。我試了聲音都很清楚,那個無氣的p聽起來有點像泡泡破掉的音。

    至於要怎麼分濁音和清音,你可以摸著喉嚨講媽媽和八八。
    媽媽的子音m是濁音,就是聲帶一定要震動,想一下,mama,a是母音,所以聲帶一定要震動,也就代表兩個字的聲帶是從頭震到尾的,實際用手摸喉嚨感覺一下,你會發現真的聲帶是從頭震動到尾,兩個字中間不會有停頓的感覺。
    接著是著講八八看看,你會發現第二個八字,p的音要出來前,聲帶有停頓一下,等於說你整個過程會發現聲帶是震動了兩次,那是因為p這個音在發出來時聲帶是沒有震動的,只有在a這個母音跑出來時聲帶才開始震動,同樣的情況也發生在你說有氣音的「怕怕」時,因此這兩種音是無法用聲帶震動情況去分別,而是用送氣與否。

    至於濁音的b的話,剛剛不是說要發塞爆音之前就是要用氣去推才會爆開來嗎?其實在發濁音b的時候,在氣正在推的時候,喉嚨聲帶已經開始出聲了,因此,如果有人單獨說「best」,他的b在一開始氣在推的時候可能很長,又因為聲帶在發聲,在我們的耳裡聽起來就像b前面多了個母音,像這樣「mmmbest/嗯嗯嗯best」,當然如果發得很短就不會有這種感覺,而且這種現象也只會出現在b前面沒有其他音時。如果b前面有其他母音,那麼就像我剛講的媽媽一樣,聲帶一直延續著前面母音的震動到b發出來。
    這種現象還發生在翻譯上面,你看看俄羅斯的英文叫Russia,俄文叫Россия,發音叫[rɐˈsʲijə],叫羅斯還能接受,為什麼前面偏偏多了一個「俄」,原來是發音方式,r這個音是彈舌音,是種濁音,因為要借用很強的氣去推才能彈動舌頭,所以通常在舌頭真正彈動之前聲音就已經先發出來了,也因為舌頭位置嘴巴是微張,這時候的聲音聽起來就像「呃」,所以當時翻譯的人才會以為r的音前面有個「呃」的母音,聽聽這個音檔,你就會了解:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ru-Россия.ogg

    另外還有一種現象,由於濁音b有聲帶震動的幫助,所以很多人在發這個音時反而減弱了塞爆的現象,也就是一開始嘴唇爆開來的力道變比較弱,有朝m這個音接近的趨勢,你仔細聽英文影集的發音,會發現他們的B真的聽起來是比我們無氣的P是還要弱的(差別可能很小,要很仔細去比較)。
    其實會講閩南語或台語的人,早就會分b/p/pʰ了,不知其他中國方言是否也是如此。台語的「肉」,發音就是濁音的[ba],母發音是[bu],都是濁音,有些人說台語的b其實有點像是用嘴唇發出來的[v],太接近[m],但我自己認為這音已經非常非常接近所謂英語、拉丁語言中的濁音b了,甚至對我來說其實是一樣的音,因為我剛剛說過,濁音的b聽起來會比較軟,才被認為聽起來像v或m。另外像g/k/kʰ的音台語也是有分的,獨缺d的音,只有t/tʰ。
    另外像泰語也有b/p/pʰ,不一樣的是泰語有d/t/tʰ,卻沒有g,只有k/kʰ(但是泰語有ng作為首音)。同樣是聲調語言(泰語五音、閩南語八音),中文的bdg音已經不見,但是泰語和台語還有所保留,而且還是「濁音/清音送氣/清音不送氣」三者並行。

    除了向泰語中這種三種都有的,一般人真的沒辦法完全聽出來。我們聽不出b/p的差別就像法國人聽不出p/pʰ的差別,因為從來沒有去分辨過所以不習慣,其實關鍵就在於多聽,以下可以聽聽看,它們都是無氣音的:
    k
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_velar_stop
    g
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiced_velar_stop
    t
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_alveolar_stop
    d
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiced_alveolar_stop
    p
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_bilabial_stop
    b
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiced_bilabial_stop
    仔細聽,k/t/p和g/d/b有幾個基本上的差別:
    1. k/t/p聽起來會比叫硬,音比較衝,也比較清楚明顯、比較清脆,有聲音爆出來的感覺,g/d/b則聽起來較軟,也因此有些人把k/t/p叫做hard sounds, 而另外一邊的soft sounds g/d/b有時候因為太軟了,在某些語言會被跟同位置更軟的聲音 ŋ/ɾ or ð/m or β搞混,例如日文本發g的音有人會發ŋ、本發b的音有人會發β(用兩嘴唇發的v音)、而日本人不會搞混p/d,卻常常分不清d/ɾ(後者就是日文中拼為r的音)的差別。西班牙文中則是d在輕音節會有發成ð的現象,(其中一個原因也是發音位置影響,因為西文的d跟中文的t和英國th的發音位置一樣,都是舌頭碰牙齒,不過英文的d則是舌頭沒碰牙齒)...
    2. k/t/p 前面有母音時會發現聲帶有猛然停頓瞬間的現象,而g/d/b前面也許聲音會變小一瞬間,但其實聲帶還是一直持續到子音發出來。
    聽聽看,ka, a'ka~'處有個停頓,ga, aga~直接連下去


    你試試看不要用一般我們說話的方式念八八兩個字,而是讓聲帶持續震動,先發出「呃呃~」的聲音,然後接著加入「八八」兩個音,但記住不要有任何停頓,聲帶要持續發音,就好像你在學機器人用慢動作發八八兩個音,這時如果夠敏銳會發現發出的聲音跟原本的「八八」不一樣,而這個音就像台語說「肉肉」一樣,是「baba」的音,同樣的方式你也可以用在「嘎嘎->gaga」或「大大->dada」上。

    接著我要補充YangMuye說的英語的清化,我最近上過一堂英語語音學的課程,裡面有一句:In English, voiced stops tend to be devoiced when at the beginning of an utterance or of a word; they are voiced when they follow another voiced sound. (voiced就是濁,voiceless是清,stops是指ptkbdg這種塞音,而devoice是去濁化之意,也就是清化) 也就是說,他們說"Daddy!"的時候,d的發音會接近無氣的t,但是在說"My daddy."的時候,因為d前有母音I,所以聲帶震動持續,是發成濁音d。
    我接著有上網深入了解,找到了很多研究:
    1.
    http://www.haskins.yale.edu/staff/mooshammer/pape_ht.pdf
    這篇就是在研究英語和德語中devoicing的現象,其中提到一個很有趣的詞叫做VOT, Voice Onset Time, 意思就是濁音起始時間,以b為例,就是說以嘴唇爆開聲音發出的時間為零,聲帶是在什麼時候開始發聲的,若在聲音之後開始發聲就是氣音pʰ,若同時發音,就是p,若在聲音爆出前聲帶就開始震動,那麼就是濁音的b了,這就牽扯到我前面講的Russia的r發出前就有聲音的問題了。可以參考這個,這個網頁裡有個表格,你可以看到裡面幾個語言是如何分辨他們的爆音的,像泰語就有三個位置,至於中文我覺得是在「強送氣」和「不送氣」兩個位置:
    http://zh.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:俄罗斯&variant=zh-tw
    回到剛剛的論文,文中有提到日耳曼語系的語言,如德語、英語,ptk和bdg的差別除了清濁,在很多情況下還跟送氣有關,也因此他們常常就只專注在送氣與否而忘了清濁音的差別,所以濁塞音去濁化(voiced stops devoicing)的情況比較普遍。相較之下,完全沒有氣音pʰ/tʰ/kʰ的語言,如西班牙語、法語和日語等等,就幾乎不會有這種去濁音的現象。文中還有提到不同的母音對於devoicing的機率影響,值得看一下。
    2.
    https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=_BJ1RbVOXNIC&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=voiced+stop+initial+devoiced&source=bl&ots=MI0LDNmky3&sig=MK4z7QliiOfI3zYsJS2qhJaNXlk&hl=zh-TW&sa=X&ei=RppsVdTQIoKsmAW78IGABA&ved=0CB0Q6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=voiced stop initial devoiced&f=false
    p.57頁開始講到爆音,文中提到一個概念叫fortis and lenis,也就是「強與弱」,強對應到ptk,弱對應到bdg,他們在不同語言中可能會用以下方式去分別:
    Fortis: 清音、有送氣音、強度大、音長長、前母音較短、有喉塞音(glottal stop)
    Lenis: 濁音、不送氣音、強度弱、音長短、前母音較長、無喉塞音
    以上提到的,都有可能拿來分辨英語的ptk/bdg ,在不同情況下分辨方式不一。
    書中提到兩個重要概念,第一個是說英語中,bdg在字首和在字尾都有去濁化的現象,除非字首前或字尾後有母音或濁音子音。第二個是說,所謂的去濁化,其實並不代表「變成清音」,而是「濁音的強度弱化,往清音接近,但沒有完全變成清音,而是介於兩者之間」,所以即使英語有「清化」,也不會變得跟中文的清音一樣。
     
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    Messquito

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    The most interesting case is 爸爸. It is actually pronounced "paba" (this spelling reflects the consonants of Romance languages!) : the first pinyin "b" is really a non plosive "p", whereas the second is a normal "b". In 我爸在家 you hear a French "p".
    I don't know if you've noticed that those voiced stops in 散散步、爸爸、大不大、我去不了 are all in neutral tone in Mandarin. Similar words include: 哥哥、吧、嘴巴、的、唄...... There might be a rule: If a neutral-tone syllable begins with an obstruent, such as b,d,g,z,j (in pinyin), it becomes voiced.

    I think there is some way to explain it:
    Mandarin neutral-tone occurs in weak syllables, and weak syllables are pronounced in a more relaxed, softer way, you don't have to put stress on them; you pronounced them in the easier way. Since in all cases, these stops are all preceded by a vowel, and it is easier to extend the vibration of the definitely voiced vowels than to stop it to allow a voiceless consonant, these stops are voiced.

    Another explanation, which I prefer, is:
    The neutral tone is called 輕音 in Chinese, which means "light sound"; this sound is produced in a light and "very short" way. Because it is short, there is way little time to make the voiced vowel sound after the stop is released; we might as well start the vibration before the release; that's when voiced stops occur. If I don't do so, chances are that no sound could be heard at all, (or, in the case of [p], it may sounds like a popping or a squishing sound, like your are mimicking something,) because:
    1. the vowel is practically missing because this is too short
    2. there is a reason why they are called voiceless stops: they are hardly audible when they are made alone with no vowels following.
    For aspirated consonants, it's a different story; 1. still stands, while 2. does not. Aspirated sounds are audible itself because of the flow of air; they do not require a vowel to be heard. In Mandarin, the 鑰匙不 in 我的鑰匙不見了 is pronounced yaoshpou, the i in shi is practically missing. However, the aspiration makes it sound very clear, which is why there is no need to change the way one pronounces it.

    I wonder if you've been to Taiwan before, because the neutral tone is highly uncommon in Taiwanese, we pronounce characters exactly how it should be in weak syllables, so we pronounce 哥哥 both in the first tone, and 散散步 all in the 4th tone. Even for those characters that we see as in 輕音(neutral tone), we pronounce them differently from how people in Beijin do. For us, 輕音 is just light, but often not short, (even if it's short, it's not as short as it is in China). 爸、吧、的、孩are one of those few cases where neutral tone occurs in Taiwanese Chinese, and they are often in a mid tone(like the 1st tone in Thai, or the 7th tone in Hokkien), or maybe in the 1st tone or else. I think the lack of neutral tone is why people consider Taiwanese accent emotionless--our tones are not as colorful as in a Beijin accent; we can only show our emotions through pitch, not tones.

    As a result, I think Taiwanese Chinese may be a typical exception of your observation. In fact, there may be few voiced-stop occurrences in Taiwanese accent because neutral tone is uncommon here. 不in大不大 and 步 in 散散步 both sounds voiceless to my ear. It would be good if you come and confirm it. (I think I can tell the difference, because I speak Hokkien, and it has b/p/pʰ and g/k/kʰ sounds, but I don't really trust my ears.)

    Your observation is really interesting. Pinyin does confuse people sometimes and that is the fact, not that you are judging it or something. This is normal, like when English people learn other languages written in Latin letters. They would be confused and misled, too. No one can avoid this, because Roman languages are written that way, but for those Chinese-learners who feel often misled by Pinyin, I recommend they learn Bopomofo. (Not that I hate Pinyin or something, but it is indeed confusing to those Latin alphabet users. Their idea of what the words should sound like based on their understanding can really block their way to pronouncing words correctly)
    Bopomofo is like Pinyin, but is made of 37 characters/letters that evolved from actual Chinese characters. For example, (b in Pinyin) is taken from the character 包, since 包 is pronounced bāo(ㄠ)。For this, you would never be confused, only that you have to memorize it.
    Again, Pinyin is the quickest way to Chinese pronunciation. One can definitely learn pinyin and pronounce Chinese perfectly, but he has to master pinyin, which is hard because of all the confusions. It's like when I learned Japanese with a i u e o, I often get the pronunciation wrong, but after I mastered あいうえお, it got better. Bopomofo makes sure that people wouldn't associate the sounds with those in English.
    http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/注音符號
     
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    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    谢谢你,Messquito,我受益匪浅,你的信息量很大,我要慢慢看,好好学习一下。谢谢。
     
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