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  1. #1
    skydown13 is offline Newbie
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    Default pronounciation of letter C

    In the dictionary the pronounciation of letter C is written as K, such as cool being pronounce as kool. But, words like scale, scar, scallion, scope, and schedule, I feel that the letter C is being pronounced as G, not as K.
    Why is that? Am I hearing wrong? :(

  2. #2
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    Quote Originally Posted by skydown13 View Post
    In the dictionary the pronounciation of letter C is written as K, such as cool being pronounce as kool. But, words like scale, scar, scallion, scope, and schedule, I feel that the letter C is being pronounced as G, not as K.
    Why is that? Am I hearing wrong? :(
    No, you are not hearing wrong at all.

    After "s", the English consonant written as (hard) "c" or "k" is unaspirated, whereas it is usually aspirated when it occurs on its own in otherwise similar positions. Since the difference between aspirated and unaspirated [k] is not contrastive in English, they are felt to be a single sound (phoneme). Speakers of Chinese, Thai and other languages where the difference is contrastive, often hear the difference more clearly.

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    Quote Originally Posted by orangutan View Post
    No, you are not hearing wrong at all.

    After "s", the English consonant written as (hard) "c" or "k" is unaspirated, whereas it is usually aspirated when it occurs on its own in otherwise similar positions. Since the difference between aspirated and unaspirated [k] is not contrastive in English, they are felt to be a single sound (phoneme). Speakers of Chinese, Thai and other languages where the difference is contrastive, often hear the difference more clearly.
    But the voiced and unvoiced velar stop (/g/ : /k/) is contrastive, so they are separate phonemes. It's interesting that the OP heard the difference in aspiration but not the difference in voicing.

    (A similar mishearing - hearing aspiration but not voicing - accounts for the English servicemen hearing the French blanc and importing it as 'plonk'.)

    b

    PS http://www.winepros.com.au/jsp/cda/r...?entry_id=2481
    Last edited by BobK; 19-Sep-2009 at 14:47. Reason: Added PS

  4. #4
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    I suspect he is 'hearing it wrong.' Having taught over there for years, I noticed Chinese students have difficulty hearing whether consonants are voiced or unvoiced, particularly in final position or in consonant clusters.

    I have never heard "sk" words in English pronounced as /sg/. Rather, the vowel following them seems to give the "auditory illusion" of being voiced.

  5. #5
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    I don't think I have made myself clear. I have never suggested that "sk" is pronounced /sg/. However the second consonant in the cluster is neutral, neither voiced (/g/) nor aspirated like English "k". In languages where neutral and aspirated stops are contrasted, this can lead to it sounding more like a "g" than a "k" - especially as the English "g", in most dialects and in most positions, is only very lightly voiced.

  6. #6
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    Quote Originally Posted by orangutan View Post
    I don't think I have made myself clear. I have never suggested that "sk" is pronounced /sg/. However the second consonant in the cluster is neutral, neither voiced (/g/) nor aspirated like English "k". In languages where neutral and aspirated stops are contrasted, this can lead to it sounding more like a "g" than a "k" - especially as the English "g", in most dialects and in most positions, is only very lightly voiced.
    That could be. And maybe different English speakers do it differently.

  7. #7
    Huda-M's Avatar
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    Valid point.
    Many people spell differently, or speak differently; I think their main language depends.

  8. #8
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    the creative is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    as I studied in school.... I know this knowledge: ((((if letters (i,e,y) come after "c" letter, the pronounciation of "c" is written S and another letters comes after c , their pronounciation is written K except H letter, if it comes after C the pronounciation of (C) letter is written tsh for example "chair")))
    Last edited by the creative; 20-Sep-2009 at 21:00.

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    But the voiced and unvoiced velar stop (/g/ : /k/) is contrastive, so they are separate phonemes. It's interesting that the OP heard the difference in aspiration but not the difference in voicing.
    But an initial sk, sg are not contrastive in English, as they would be in, say Italian which has words beginning with sg, sb, sd.
    English doesn't, so there is no linguistic injunction in English against saying sgale, sgar, sgallion, sgope, or 'Sdar Sbangled banner'. Such words would generally be understood.

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: pronounciation of letter C

    Interesting. Could you cite a minimal pair in Italian with /sk/ and /sg/ contrasted? (This isn't a challenge to your authority, just a request for information. )

    b

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