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Re: Russian soft/hard 'l' minimal pairs (was: glottals)

From:Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Date:Thursday, February 5, 2004, 3:35
Philippe Caquant wrote:
> > I think it is easier for anglophones to differentiate > hard-L and soft-l in Russian because that distinction > exists in English. If I'm not mistaken, Russian hard-L > is close to the L in the word "ill". In French, there > is nothing of the sort, AFAIK, so we really wonder why > do we have to make a distinction if there isn't any > possibility of confusion. > > Some people find it hard to differentiate the sounds > "S^" vs "s^" (or whatever may be the phonetic > representation for them) in German "SCHauen" vs "iCH". > As, I think, there is nothing like that in English, I > wonder if English-speakers really mark the distinction > when they speak German ?
For what it's worth, I find the /S/-/C/ distinction (SCHauen/iCH) *much* easier to distinguish, both hearing and producing, than the hard and soft l. Probably because my native language *doesn't* use /C/ (except in a small number of words as a realization of /hj/), however, the two L's *are* used in English, but as allophones (i.e., there is *no* distinction in English), which makes it harder to hear them as different and to correctly distinguish them in production. Completely foreign sounds like /q/ are comparatively easy because my native language lacks that sound, so I don't need to break any bad habits. -- "There's no such thing as 'cool'. Everyone's just a big dork or nerd, you just have to find people who are dorky the same way you are." - overheard ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTaylor42