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Chinese pronounciation of certain letters

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I would like to ask why is it that to some Chinese (I'm not sure if it's true with all) certain letters are pronounced differently?

My husband is half-Chinese and he always pronounce the word magnet as maknet (changing the g to k).  Also, he sometimes pronounce P as B.  I did try asking him about it but he has no clue and jokes that maybe his tongue was built differently.

But I believe there's a reason for this?  :smile:

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  • 3 months later...

Well, I'm not the most knowledgeable, but I will try. :)

Pinyin is widely taught in China now, and it uses the Latin alphabet, just like most European languages. These are approximate forms of what Chinese words would look like if spelled with the Latin alphabet. I'm not sure if the phonetics of Pinyin were designed to be similar to English specifically. Anyway...

Well, certain combinations of letters in Pinyin are always pronounced certain ways. For example, the letter combination ¨ang¨ is pronounced with the 'a' sounding like 'ah.' Whereas English speakers would look at it and do an ¨ay¨ sound, like Fonzie. :D So he is likely doing it because in his language, those letters together would sound different than how they would in English.

Chinese people tend to bring that kind of pronunciation into English. It is a difficult habit to break.

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  • 1 year later...

Chinese have many regional dialects, which have slight differences in pronunciation, and some sounds may even be absent from a certain dialect. As a result, people speaking different dialects may have different difficulties in pronouncing certain sounds. For example, many people in Hunan and Hubei provinces have difficulties in pronouncing or differentiate sounds "n" and/from "l" in mandarin Chinese.

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