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English voiced/unvoiced aspirated/unaspirated

From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Friday, January 28, 2000, 18:48
Christophe Grandsire wrote:

> I find it strange, because English has also voiced stops
contrasting with
> voiceless stops, at least inside words, doesn't it? I think in France it > would be the contrary: no problem to distinguish voicing, but tremendous > problems to distinguish aspirated vs. unaspirated stops. So an English > person listening to a French saying "cadeau" /kado/ would hear something > like "gadeau" /gado/?
Yes, precisely -- unless he were used to French, whose voiced stops are far more voiced than English voiced stops (that is, they have an earlier "voice onset time"). Then he might notice the absence of the strong voicing characteristic of a French "g" and realize this was a French "c". That's why, as I mentioned before, Navajo transcription, which is generally done by English/Navajo speakers, uses "d" for an unaspirated stop and "t" for an aspirated one, and hardly anybody notices that it's not really a voiced/unvoiced stop distinction (except in the middle of the word, where you have to remember to aspirate the "t"). Ed ---------------------------------------------------------------- .................... ....................... "In the labyrinth of the alphabet the truth is hidden. It is one thing repeated many times." -- AOS ----------------------------------------------------------------