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Voiced / Voiceless Pairs

Voiced / Voiceless Pairs in the Futhark


  Voiced g   d   b  

  Voiceless k   t   p  


Definition of Voiced / Voiceless:

"During normal speech, in particular when one is not whispering, the vocal cords are vibrating part, but not all, of the time. Phones which are pronounced with the vocal cords vibrating are called voiced, and the others are called voiceless. This is illustrated by the difference between the English words “view” [vju:] and “few” [fju:]: the initial segment (a labiodental fricative) is voiced in the former and voiceless in the latter. This should be perfectly clear if you put your hand to your throat: you should feel your vocal cords vibrating when saying “view” whereas when saying “few” they start vibrating only after the ‘f’.

Or, to say things differently: voiced segments are pronounced with a simultaneous “humming” sound (vibration of the cords) whereas voiceless segments are pronounced without it.

Despite this, even when whispered, the [v] and [f] segments do not sound exactly identical (though the differences is much slighter than in normal speech): this is presumably because the vocal cords, although not vibrating, are not quite in the same position when [v] is pronounced as when [f] is pronounced; if the difference between a devoiced [v] and an [f] is to be emphasized, the former can be called a lenis and the latter a fortis."

Quotation from: The International Phonetic Alphabet






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