Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dig those crazy /p/ and /b/ sounds...

For those of you from the Indian subcontinent, whether you speak Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, or any of the other many languages spoken in India, you may find that you have trouble distinguishing between the /p/ and the /b/ sounds in English. This is because those sounds do not exist as seperate sounds in most of the Indian languages. So for instance, when you try to say "Bombay", to an American, you might be saying, "Pompeii"--very different!

Essentially the difference between /p/ and /b/ is that /b/ is a voiced /p/.

Here is how you make the /p/ sound:

Push your lips together, stopping the air stream as you speak. Then open your lips. The /p/ sound requires a firm lip closure. The air comes out in a strong puff.

Try saying now:




In each of these words you interrupt the air stream coming out of your mouth as you speak by closing your lips, and then opening them while you expel air.

To make the /b/ sound, use a less tense closure of the lips (with the /p/ sound you close them firmly. With the /b/ sound, less so) and vocalize in the back of your throat.

Try these words:




See you in a few! I'm trying to get my camera fixed so I can put up some video with sounds. Stay tuned!