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    #1

    Pronounciation of letter C

    In the dictionary the pronounciation of letter C is written as K, such as cool being pronounced 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? :(


    • Join Date: Apr 2009
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    #2

    Re: Pronounciation of letter C

    I believe what you are hearing is a slightly weaker /k/ sound. The initial /s/ sound releases some of the air in your mouth and this tends to sap some of the strength of the /k/. The same thing happens in words beginning with /sp/. The /p/ sound becomes a little less explosive due to the /s/, causing many to believe it is a /b/. Contrary to every textbook in Taiwan, these are NOT /g/ and /b/ sounds, respectively. They are still /k/ and /p/ sounds, just a little weaker or less explosive.

    Greg

    P.S. I have never studied linguistics, so I'm sure I'll get pounded into the dirt by someone who has.

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    #3

    Re: Pronounciation of letter C

    Quote Originally Posted by dragn View Post
    I believe what you are hearing is a slightly weaker /k/ sound. The initial /s/ sound releases some of the air in your mouth and this tends to sap some of the strength of the /k/. The same thing happens in words beginning with /sp/. The /p/ sound becomes a little less explosive due to the /s/, causing many to believe it is a /b/. Contrary to every textbook in Taiwan, these are NOT /g/ and /b/ sounds, respectively. They are still /k/ and /p/ sounds, just a little weaker or less explosive.

    Greg

    P.S. I have never studied linguistics, so I'm sure I'll get pounded into the dirt by someone who has.
    No, you are quite right. I have tried to give an answer in the duplicate thread (why are there two??) which says essentially the same. The sound we are talking about (as in "school") is neither voiced (like English "g") nor aspirated (like English "k" outside the "sk" combination). I think Chinese textbooks probably represent it as "g" because in pinyin the contrast between "k" and "g" is between aspirated and unaspirated, not between unvoiced and voiced. (Earlier transliterations used k' and k respectively.)

    But I don't speak Chinese, so I'm sure I will get pounded in the dirt by someone who does.

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