Author Topic: A question about p and b  (Read 5051 times)

Offline nguyen dung

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 10
A question about p and b
« on: November 20, 2017, 01:37:33 AM »
What is a practical sign to distinguish p and b in English:voiceless and voiced or strong and weak energetic flow of air or both things?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 01:41:59 AM by nguyen dung »

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 2073
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: A question about p and b
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 04:02:07 AM »
In Linguistics, we use the terms "voiceless" and "voiced".

"Strong and weak energetic flow of air" is not a meaningful expression, unless you define it. I think we should prefer standard terms unless there is a reason to make a new one.

Note that technically the distinction in English is closer to "aspirated" (P) vs. "unaspirated" (B), although we often use the terminology interchangeably when there is just a two-way contrast.
(The phonetic difference is that in Spanish there is a real voicing distinction, without any aspiration; and in English there is a real aspiration difference, without any actual voicing during the consonant. Some languages have 3-or-more-way splits, so that distinction would be important. But for English it is common, if confusing, to just say "voiced" vs. "voiceless".)

More technically you can look up Voice Onset Time:
(That allows for a three-way distinction: voiceless aspirated, voiceless unaspirated, voiced unaspirated.)
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.