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Smoothie

how is wu pronounced?

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smithsgj

> except maybe smithsgj

Oooh I don't know, I think I understand some of what has been said!

What Ala and the Hanyu Pinyin rules are saying is that there is a sound /u/ which is represented in eg 路 as 'u' and in 五 as 'wu'. Quest says that whatever the spelling convention, u and wu are the same sound, but he would represent that sound phonologically as /wu/. So phonologically 五 is /wu/, and 路 is /lwu/.

Oops, not quite what Quest intended!

Guys, 五 is not pronounced like English 'woo' (the old-fashioned word meaning to chat someone up). The vowel in 五 is much purer -- your lips are so rounded, they're almost in a whistling position. Now I know /w/ is a glide and /u/ is a vowel, but the lip positions and just about everything else about the two sounds is identical. There is simply no way you can claim to distinguish a /w/ immediately before a pure /u/, because they are to all intents and purposes the same thing.

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Quest
So phonologically 五 is /wu/, and 路 is /lwu/.

Oops, not quite what Quest intended!

路 is l-u4-lu4 (le-wu-lu4)

same thing, if you spell it out.

伍仪遇一医

so u agree with "ooo eee uuuu eee eee" ?

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smithsgj
路 is l-u4-lu4 (le-wu-lu4)

same thing, if you spell it out.

So, if it made sense to write "L五", a possible reading would be 路 (ignoring tone diff). And 路 has two phones or segments, /l/ and /u/, not three, a bit like the English word 'loo'. So 五 has one phone or segment, same as 路 without the /l/.

伍仪遇一医

maybe ooo wee... you were thinking ooo yee...?

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Quest

I think I've made it clear, either you trust me or you do not. Just ask around. Smithsgj, Pinyin does not work the same way as English. 路 is spelled lu but it is read le-woo-lu not le-ooo-lu; the pinyin "u" is read "woo" not "ooo". Just like Xiong would be Xi-Yi-Ong not X-iong.

Also, FYI, the lips do not stay constant when you say wu, they move from w to ooo slightly, from bigger circle to smaller circle(same thing for "u" alone).

PS: there's a chance that your "woo" might not really sound like my "woo", and your "w" sound is not the "w" sound I have in mind. That could be the reason why we couldn't agree with each other.

伍仪遇一医 is

Woo3 Yee2 Yuu4 Yee1(4) Yee1

ask the person next to you to enunciate it for you.

:wall

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smithsgj
PS: there's a chance that your "woo" might not really sound like my "woo", and your "w" sound is not the "w" sound I have in mind. That could be the reason why we couldn't agree with each other.

That is very likely.

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eric

it's not quite like woo (like you might woot, woosh). the w is softer, and in words like wei, the w is almost like a v. if you press your front teeth down on your inner-lower lip like the v sound, you should be able to get it.

i think in taiwan it's actually less like v and more like the w we know.

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skylee
the w is softer, and in words like wei, the w is almost like a v.

Indeed it is. When watching CCTV dramas, I often find actors pronouncing the "w" almost biting their low lips, so much so that the 問 in 我問你 almost sounds like "ven". I think this is strange.

But I still agree with Quest's views.

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ala

所谓“把一些带 w [ u ] 的音,读成 v ”,并不是英语那种唇齿摩擦音 [ v ] 。它只是在合口呼零声母的位置上出现了轻微的唇齿动作,丝毫没有摩擦音的痕迹。唇齿无擦通音国际音标是花体的 F4bhXQ_v.gif.

Calling it a "v" will give people the wrong idea of its being a possible alternative (as mostly Beijingers have this problem, and the Beijing dialect is the basis of standard Mandarin in the PRC). This might possibly influence certain people to pronounce it like a full blown English v, particularly the Beijingers themselves, generating a great deal of confusion for all. It is instead more like a lisp, a nonstandard habit. Most of those speakers are not aware at all, to them they are pronouncing the pinyin "w" as taught to them during grade school. And it is not a [ v ] anyway.

The English "v" is voiced; and as we should all know, Mandarin has no voiced consonants except sometimes for the d in 我的、他的、etc.

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eric

I just think w + v is a good way to describe the sound compared to just ignoring the consonant.

By saying it's akin to a lisp, do you mean that the accent where it sounds like a V is not the proper accent (a kind of Chinese lisp)?

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ala

yup that's what I meant. not that the v is a lisp.

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Altair

With all due respect to the opinions given above, when I have listened to examples of the "wu" final and "yi" final in isolation, I often hear a clearly enunciated glottal stop at the beginning of the sound.

At the moment, I am comparing the pronunciation of "wu1" on Wenlin. The female voice does not have it, but the male voice definitely does.

I think the issue here may be that various languages treat "w" "y" and "yu" as full consonants and others treat them as full vowels. When they act as "glides" after consonants, they can be classified either way, according to the language. English phonetics generally treats "w" and "y" as full consonants (e.g. "a ruse" vs. "an ooze" and "a year" vs. "an ear"). In Chinese, the treatment of "w" and "y" and their traditional classification as finals seem to define them as vowels. As vowels, they seem to permit an initial glottal stop when pronounced in isolation, a treatment that is not give to consonants in standard Mandarin or in English. (Perhaps, Wu dialects are different?).

A language similar to Chinese in this respect might be French, where there are many words with initial "w" and "y," but which are normally treated under the phonetic rules of vowels. (E.g., "the bird" is "l'oiseau" [lwazo] vs. "le oiseau" [loe wazo]. French even requires that the "s" in "les" be pronounced in "les oiseaux," a feature of the language that is used to prevent the clash of two vowels occurring in a row and which otherwise goes against the grain of the language.)

Also, FYI, the lips do not stay constant when you say wu, they move from w to ooo slightly, from bigger circle to smaller circle(same thing for "u" alone).

I think this would argue that the "w" is really part of the vowel sound and not a separate consonant. Consonants are usually defined as relative constrictions of the air streams that are more intensive than vowels. If the lips go from a bigger circle to a smaller one, this would place the consonant, if any, at the end of the sound, rather than at the beginning.

I hear this lip movement as well, but hear it as an intensification of the vowel as the lips move from a relatively neutral position to a relatively closed one.

路 is spelled lu but it is read le-woo-lu not le-ooo-lu; the pinyin "u" is read "woo" not "ooo". Just like Xiong would be Xi-Yi-Ong not X-iong

I think this also argues that Chinese treats "wu" as a simple vowel, rather than as a consonant + vowel. This is reinforced by what I believe to be similar treatment in the Bopomofo for "w" and "u" and "y" and "i," as Smithsgj mentioned.

Another aspect of phonetics that clouds this issue is that all languages have rules for what to do when two vowels occur in a row, but the rules are not the same. The concept is called "hiatus," I believe. It appears that when "wu" and "yi" are not pronounced after a pause, one can slip in a "w" or "y" sound to ease the transition in certain cases. As a result, a word like 蚂蚁 would normally be pronounced as "ma yi", not "ma 'i". On the other hand 一天 would not be pronounced "yi tian", but as "'i tian".[/u]

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smithsgj

Nice analysis Altair. I think this is a difficult issue because we can't really determine what the segments are in running speech. So we listen to citation speech, or rely in what we were taught in primary school or CSL classes. And because of the Pinyin spelling, or because of the in my opinion rather idiotic phonic 'spellings' of the "le-ooo-loo" "xi yi ung xiong" variety, we get a different picture of the pronunciation from what happens in reality.

I think in the PRC one is more likely to hear a /w/ or /y/ than in Taiwan. This may be a regional thing, or perhaps another case of the transcription scheme in use affecting the way people speak. Like Ala mentioned in another thread (though that with respect to the way Chinese ppl speak foreign languages).

路 is spelled lu but it is read le-woo-lu not le-ooo-lu; the pinyin "u" is read "woo" not "ooo". Just like Xiong would be Xi-Yi-Ong not X-iong

I'm curious as to why this in particular helps the simple vowel argument?

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Altair

smithsgj, it seems I forgot to answer your question:

Quote:

路 is spelled lu but it is read le-woo-lu not le-ooo-lu; the pinyin "u" is read "woo" not "ooo". Just like Xiong would be Xi-Yi-Ong not X-iong

I'm curious as to why this in particular helps the simple vowel argument?

In all the traditions I am aware of, simple vowels are named by their sound, unless this violates syllabic constraints within the languge or unless historical reasons intervene. Since "woo" could be interpreted as either "wu" or "u," it would some to be a poor name for the vowel, unless "ooo" is really awkward or impossible for Mandarin speakers. A spelling like "le-woo-lu" seems to imply that "wu" and "u" are really the same thing psychologically, i.e., mere allophones.

Similarly, in English, all our vowel names begin with a glottal stop, but this is not perceived by most adults and disappears in connected speech.

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shibo77

In Mandarin Chinese Hanyu Pinyin, "u" and "wu" are not allophones, they are exactly the same. The "w-" initial is only for stylistic purposes in Hanyu Pinyin. In Tongyong Pinyin, used in Taiwan, "w-", "y-" are omitted. But they pronounce the same "屋u1" as mainlanders' "屋wu1".

They ("u", "wu") both have the IPA values .

When spelt with the 反切Fanqie technique:

路lu4 (initial "l" + final "u") "勒le1 乌wu4 路lu4"

-Shibo :mrgreen:

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Altair

Shibo,

Your right. I should have written that "woo" and "oo" are both allophones. :oops:

By the way, is it possible to pronounce Wu with an initial glottal stop? A glottal stop seems quite common for Yi when pronounced after a pause or when stressed.

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shibo77

I learnt about glottal stop from Arabic, but I don't really understand it. Is it just a breath of air being sucked in?

ARABIC

'ashara The ' is the glottal stop?

so I think glottal stop happens to all words with a vowel as the onset, right?

-Shibo :mrgreen:

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ala

glottal stops can occur before consonants as well.

一、医、乌、安、愿、凹、碗 等 in Wu dialects have glottal stop initials.

每、拿、拉 等 in Wu dialects have glottal stop initials as well.

One of the most common accents Wu speakers have is putting the glottal stop into Mandarin.

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hWnd

The sound w in "wu" is really pronounced,but it is immediately followed by the vowel u, so it is nearly omitted...

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