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    #1

    how to catch ending consonants?

    Hello.
    This has been bothering me for a long time. I can't always catch ending consonants like /t, k, th/.
    "Car, cart "sound identical to me.
    "appreciate it" always sounds like just "appreciate".
    "Show me the path" is like "show me the pa~~
    Since these sounds are unvoiced consonants, can you actually hear them? Are they sometimes dropped when speaking quick?
    Someone please tell me how native speakers catch and differenciate ending consonants. Really appreciate it.

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: how to catch ending consonants?

    This is a common problem for speakers of southern Chinese dialects like Cantonese. See my web page "http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/french/as-sa/PEP2/phonetics/index.html" and click on "voiced/ unvoiced consonants." Then you can click on the sound files (recorded at 44,000 Hz, nice quality) and listen carefully, repeating, to hear these differences.

    This should provide some practice.

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    #3

    Re: how to catch ending consonants?

    Quote Originally Posted by toniang View Post
    Hello.
    This has been bothering me for a long time. I can't always catch ending consonants like /t, k, th/.
    "Car, cart "sound identical to me.
    "appreciate it" always sounds like just "appreciate".
    "Show me the path" is like "show me the pa~~”
    Since these sounds are unvoiced consonants, can you actually hear them? Are they sometimes dropped when speaking quick?
    Someone please tell me how native speakers catch and differenciate ending consonants. Really appreciate it.
    Yes, they are sometimes dropped, or swallowed. In phonetics, you'd use a glottal stop to signify the latter.
    ‘I am noʔ’ for ‘I am not’
    This is similar to /bɒʔl/ for 'bottle'.
    Unfortunately, you can't hear a dropped consonant because it isn't there. Native speakers can either tell from the context, or they too misunderstand the word. This is especially difficult for older people with a bit of hearing impairment, but you can't tell teenagers to speak clearly.

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    #4

    Re: how to catch ending consonants?

    Hi,

    In N.American English the final t is unreleased, so it sounds like it is not present when it is. For appreciate it- work on your linking techniques and you will hear the differences. There are three basic rules- 1) Consonant to consonant- black cat sounds like blackat. 2) Consonant to vowel - pickup sounds like pickup 3) Vowel to Vowel- go on sounds like gowon.

    Show me the path- Native speakers are pronouncing the last consonant of "th".

    One thing that will help you is to train your ear to hear the different consonant sounds. Also, learning linking and rhythm techniques would be helpful.

    Check out more info at our blog: www.L2accent.com/blog

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: how to catch ending consonants?

    I also have a page dedicated to these clipped final consonants. See the web page I mention above, and click on "Clipped consonants" in the left hand side menu.


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    #6

    Re: how to catch ending consonants?

    Thank you all for your help.
    I am still a bit confused. how do you know if there exits an unreleased final t. I tried very hard but still can't tell the difference just by hearing. The way I am using now is by context.


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    #7

    Re: how to catch ending consonants?

    I also have problems with ending consonants and I'd guess this is a common problem because most of other languages don't have audible ending consonants in speech. Does anyone know? Is there any other language that has similar phenomenon of audible ending consonants? If there is, I guess the people from that language would have an easier time with this.

    Nonetheless, are these ending consonants really really important to be audible at all times? I mean even if they are not heard, the words can still be understood, right? Especially in songs as I've noticed, at the places in the song where the singer holds a looooooonnng note on a vowel and then just whispers the ending consonants, makes it seem the ending consonants are not that important and insignificant in contributing to the sound of a word overall.

    Also, in fast speech, I can't see clearly the difference between voiced and unvoiced final consonants, one of many examples, what is the essential difference when you say 'bad man' and 'bat man' fast? I know d is voiced and t is unvoiced. but to me bat man sounds the same as bad man. I'd appreciate any comment and answer. Thanks!
    Last edited by dth1112; 06-Jul-2009 at 03:33.

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