From: "Christian Thalmann" <[log in to unmask]> > Jesse Bangs wrote: > > > Why do people often think of the voiceless sounds as "hard" and the > > voiced ones as "soft"? I've always thought of it the other way around. > > It completely escapes my understanding how anyone could consider [t] to > be softer than [d], or [f] softer than [v]. Try saying [afata] and > [avada], that should make it clear. In the first utterance, the > consonants interrupt the flow of the word with percussive unvoicedness, > while the second word glides off the tongue in a single soft mellifluous curve. It appears that we may be working with different senses of "soft" and "hard" here. If I take both [afata] and [avada] and whisper them (thereby making them softer) which one changes more? ... The harder one, [avada], not the one that was already soft. > As for the physical aspect: Unvoiced consonants have a lot of > high-frequency spikes, like percussion instruments in music, while > voiced ones have much smoother Fourier signatures, like plucked strings. Or maybe you might say the unvoiced consonants have soft furry bristles, and the voiced ones are packed down hard? ;) > Surely nobody would consider a violin pizzicato harder than a drum solo? Actually, I am even worse at determining how "soft" or "hard" a musical piece is than I am at determining what instruments are being played. It certainly depends on what music they were playing... if the violin was playing the same tune as the drum, then I think I might call the violin harder (I am hearing a pizzicato *something* right now...) *Muke!