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  1. #1
    kamalmuo is offline Newbie
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    Wink the sounds b and p

    I am from Egypt. My first language is Arabic and we have only one B but in English we have two. So how can I differentiate between B and P. I know B is voiced and p is not but this explanation is not enough for me to produce the two sounds correctly .
    thanks

  2. #2
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the sounds b and p

    Quote Originally Posted by kamalmuo View Post
    I am from Egypt. My first language is Arabic and we have only one B but in English we have two. So how can I differentiate between B and P. I know B is voiced and p is not but this explanation is not enough for me to produce the two sounds correctly .
    thanks
    Yes, but you have voiceless [t] and voiced [d], so learning the distinction in voice will be easy.

    Voiced sounds are made by vibrating your vocal folds, and voiceless sounds are made by not vibrating the folds. Try this: put your fingers on your throat over your larynx (your voice box) and hum. You should feel your vocal folds vibrating. That's what voiced-sounds like [d] do. Now, to make a voiceless sound, slowly and steadily blow air out of your mouth, this time without making a sound. That is stop your folds from vibrating. You should hear only air passing through your throat. That's what voiceless-sounds like [t] do.

    Now, to get a feel for the distinction in voice, alternate between [d] and [t]. Those two sounds share the same place of articulation. They differ only in voicing (Note, be careful not to add a vowel sound to [t] as that will produce a voiced sound. Vowels are voiced). There should be a recognizable puff of air that flows through your mouth with [t], not so recognizable with [d]. Arabic has these sounds, so you should be able to feel the distinction in voice, at least with those pairs.

    To produce [p], follow the same steps as you did in becoming aware of the distinction in voice with [d] and [t]. The sounds [p] and [b] share the same place of articulation. They differ only in voicing. With [p] there is recognizable puff of air, with [b] the puff is minimal. Try these pairs:

    bad
    pad

    bit
    pit

    bet
    pet

    bat
    pat

  3. #3
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the sounds b and p

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    To produce [p], follow the same steps as you did in becoming aware of the distinction in voice with [d] and [t]. The sounds [p] and [b] share the same place of articulation. They differ only in voicing. With [p] there is recognizable puff of air, with [b] the puff is minimal.
    lauralie has given some very helpful information here.
    I disagree on one point, the one I have underlined. The voicing difference is important, but many phoneticians feel that aspiration and the fortis/lenis opposition are as important as, or more important than, voicing. /p/ is fortis - it has energetic articulation or, more simply, it is produced with some force. /b/ is lenis - it is produced with less force. Aspiration is the technical term for the puff of air lauralie has mentioned.

    So, to summarise:
    /p/ is fortis, aspirated and unvoiced
    /b/ is lenis, unaspirated and voiced.

  4. #4
    kamalmuo is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: the sounds b and p

    Thanks so much to both of you for this nice details. The picture now is clear for me and it becomes easy for me to produce the two sounds correctly.
    thanks again

  5. #5
    ukteacher is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: the sounds b and p

    Place a small piece of paper in the palm of your hand and say the letters b and p.
    The paper will move when you say "p" but not "b"

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