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phonetics-related question (initials)


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hi, I have just started learning chinese and wonder: when it comes to initials in chinese, does concrete initial/double letter (e.g "zh") always represents the same phoneme/sound? if no, I would be glad if you gave me some examples. thanks!

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I don't understand the question. If you're asking whether each initial (b, p, m, f, zh, ch, sh, etc) is always pronounced the same, then essentially yes. Exceptions are that, as in any language, variations exist between speakers and dialects, and syllables are sometimes mumbled or pronounced in reduced forms. But a single speaker, pronouncing each syllable slowly and carefully, will always pronounce the same initial the same way.


If you're asking whether each initial is a single sound, then no, some are consonant blends. But whether they're blends has little to do with whether they're written with 1 letter or 2: "zh, ch" are blends, but so are "z, c, j, q", whereas "sh" isn't.

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