> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Cheng-Zhong Su > You also mentioned the difference between "bit" and > "beet" in English. It's definitely not tone. I think it's > perhaps length to some extent, but it's usually considered to > be a question of "tight" versus "lax". In English, like many > languages, we use tone to distinguish questions from > statements. So if you say "you are American" with a rising > tone it sounds like a question. > > -- > Jens Wilkinson > Neo Patwa (patwa.pbwiki.com) > > I see, thank you for explain the voice/unvoice consonant. I > think the sound like p, t, s is something like people trying > to separate the vowel from the front consonant, while the b, > d, z, sound like they uttered the final vowel together with > the front consonant; as bi, di, ze. I also reckon that even > the p, t, s have a tiny vowel behind it, once you can hear > them clearly. No it has nothing to do with vowels. /p t s/ are unvoiced while their counterparts /b d z/ are articulated at the same point but with the vocal chords vibrating. It's not a distinction that occurs in Mandarin. The only Sinitic language I know that has such a distinction is Shanghainese though it has lost most of its tonal qualities. > Under such an explanation, there is no > consonants in the world are fully independent. That is to say > a really consonant is but an imaginative figure in our mind. Actually there is a bit of a continuum. Stops are definitely consonants. Fricatives are consonants but have some vowel-like qualities because they can be continuous like [s::::::]. In between you have glides like [w] or [j] which are often considered "semivowels" > It could not be practiced by mouth alone. > As for the stress in the sentence of "You are American", the > Chinese people using it the same way, it is easy to understand. "You are American." is spoken differently from "You are American?"