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Subject: Re: x/sh, q/ch
From: TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 05:13:57 GMT
References: 1


They are easy to distinguish because they don't share vowels.

In Mandarin, the alveolo-palatal consonants "q","j", and "x" are always followed by the palatal vowels "i" or "ü". They are palatalized sounds of the velar consonants "k", "g", and "h". The Mandarin "x" is the same as the Japanese "sh" and is different from the English "sh". The Mandarin "x" (the Japanese "sh") is the alveolo-palatal fricative and the mouth position for it is similar to that for the English "ee", while the English "sh" is the postalveolar fricative and the mouth position for it is similar to that for the English "oo". The Mandarin "x" has a light sound, and the English "sh" has a dark sound.

The Mandarin retroflex consontants "ch", "zh", "sh", and "r" are never followed by the palatal vowels "i" or "ü". They are phonetically close to the American English "r". The "i" in "chi", "zhi", "shi", and "ri" is somewhat similar to the American English "er" and is clearly different from the "i" in "qi", "ji", and "xi", which is the same as the English "ee". Probably the Mandarin "chu" is more similar to "true" than to "chew" in American English.



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