Author Topic: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?  (Read 703 times)

Offline nguyen dung

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I am Vietnamese so my sounds are face sounds. I do not know how to make throat and chest sounds in English.Is it correct if I must relax the neck and the mouth? Are all Europe languages the throat and chest sounds(e.g French)?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 11:45:41 PM by nguyen dung »

Offline Daniel

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Re: How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 11:45:28 PM »
That description is not accurate. The sounds in Vietnamese and English are different, yes. (And the sounds in other European languages are also different, not just like English.)

As for just learning English, it's best to practice while listening to native speakers.

But to understand how the sounds work, you should study something about how sounds are physically produced.

The vowels of all languages are produced within the same physical space. But languages use different divisions of that space. English has more vowels (more distinctions/areas) within the mouth, and Vietnamese has fewer. (But Spanish, for example, has 5 vowels, so not all European languages have many like English.) Vowels can be described by three features: (1) height (how open the jaw is, how high the tongue is), (2) backness (how far back/forward the tongue is in the mouth), and (3) lip-rounding ("o" is a round vowel, and "e" is an unrounded vowel). To understand the location (height+backness), consider the extreme vowels a ("aaah"), i ("eeee"), u ("oooh"). a is very low in the mouth ("open"/"low"), i/u are high vowels ("closed"/"high"). And i is far forward, while u is back. You should be able to feel that with your tongue. Other vowels are just variations on that.

Consonants are more relevant to where they are produced. Place of articulation for consonants can go from the lips all the way back to the glottis (voice box / vocal folds). (But I'm not aware of English having more consonants farther back in the mouth than Vietnamese!) And consonants are also defined by manner of articulation: is the airflow totally stopped (like t, d, p, k, etc.)?, is a narrow hissing sound produced (like f, s, etc.)?, is air going through the nose (like n, m, etc.)?, or is it another type entirely (like r, l, y, etc.). Consonants also distinguish voicing, whether the throat is buzzing or not (s vs. z).

You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet


As for the description of sounds in the "neck and mouth" or "throat and chest", I think those are just inaccurate perceptions of different speaking styles. It is a very well know fact that non-experts (non-linguists, and people who don't know much about phonetics/phonology, or the International Phonetic Alphabet) don't really do a good job of explaining what seems like a different kind of sound. For example, some accents are called "nasal" when they either actually have MORE OR LESS airflow through the nose (like the letters n and m, but for all sounds). So if someone says "your accent sounds nasal", that doesn't actually mean anything specific. It just means "it sounds different to me".

My recommendation is to either study how sounds are produced physically (as outlined above), or work with a trained linguist or English as a Second Language teacher/tutor, so that they can give you quality advice. Note that not all English speakers working at English teachers are qualified to give good pronunciation advice. Some have backgrounds in linguistics and relevant training. Others do not. It depends on the qualifications required for the job they have, as well as their individual background.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 01:53:40 AM by Daniel »
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 12:11:53 AM »
When I had not perception sound placement, I was very difficult to hear English native speakers.But when I know that English may have throat sounds, my
ear is shapper.But I do not know how to make them.In Vietnam, I see all teacher speak English with face sound.Further I have to selfstudy because some reasons.Fortunately,I have met Rachel's English videos,then I have had perception of placement of sounds.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 01:23:26 AM by nguyen dung »

Offline Daniel

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 01:56:46 AM »
Quote
But when I know that English may have throat sounds, my
ear is shapper.
I have no idea what a "throat sound" is. English "h" is produced in the throat, but I don't think you're talking about just one sound. And Vietnamese also has the same sound.
Quote
In Vietnam, I see all teacher speak English with face sound.
Again, I don't what this means. All sounds are produced with the face (for all languages). These terms do not relate to any real physical description. Maybe they are intuitive labels for something I don't understand?

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Fortunately,I have met Rachel's English videos,then I have had perception of placement of sounds.
Good. You may find some videos online that are helpful. But the quality will vary, just like teachers or other English speakers who try to explain things! If you watch enough, though, especially if they say "phonetics" or use the phrase "place of articulation" or "international phonetic alphabet" ("IPA"), it is more likely they will be helpful.


Maybe if would be helpful for you to compare the sound inventories for Vietnamese and English to see the different sounds in each language:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_phonology#Initial_consonants
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_phonology#Consonants
As you can see in those charts, there is a lot of overlap, and there is very little general difference between what would be a "face" or "throat" sound.

If you could give examples of the particular sounds you're talking about, then that might help. The labels aren't important (you can call them whatever you want!), but in order to understand what you mean you'll have to explain more.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 01:58:44 AM by Daniel »
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 07:41:11 AM »
As Rachel's explaination: the throat sound is the sound that is a ''resonance'' at throat.

Offline Daniel

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 10:04:35 AM »
I don't know those particular videos. I'd suggest looking at other videos, because that one sounds confusing. But if it helps you, that's fine.

My best guess: maybe this has something to do with intonation or style, and how English doesn't use the tones that Vietnamese does? But I don't know if that's accurate.

Again, "throat" and "resonance" aren't meaningful in a real/physical sense. As descriptive labels, I'm not sure what she means.
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2017, 04:07:31 PM »
Please say if it correct or not: when we relax the throat, because the length of throat is definitely,so some wave lengths of sound will be resonant at neck.That is throat sound?Obviously, it is different if it is resonant at front of mouth,it is the face sounds.
If we place the voice at throat,the voice will be more dark and fuzzy.If we place the voice at front of mouth, the voice will be clearer(this is the sound of Vietnamese).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 05:07:38 PM by nguyen dung »

Offline Daniel

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2017, 06:26:17 PM »
No, that is not correct. That is at best an impressionistic explanation that doesn't have much basis in physical reality. You can tell because words like "fuzzy" and "dark" do not accurately/scientifically describe sounds.

You have two options:
1. Study linguistics/phonetics/phonology, to really understand how the sounds are physically produced.
2. Use WHATEVER method you would like, if it is helpful. If thinking of some sounds as "fuzzy" or "dark" is helpful to you (because that impressionistic description makes sense to you), then that is not a problem. But that's just a shortcut to speaking (if it works!), rather than a way of really understanding the physical pronunciation of sounds.

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when we relax the throat, because the length of throat is definitely,so some wave lengths of sound will be resonant at neck.
That is ALMOST scientific. The production of vowels (but not consonants) does vary based on the length of the vocal tract. However, that would affect pitch/frequency, rather than a fundamental difference between English and Vietnamese. (And it's also not something we can really control-- we can't make our throats longer, although we can control pitch in other ways.) Maybe the explanation is suggesting you try to speak with a deeper voice to sound more like an average English speaker? That's actually NOT very important (many English speakers have higher pitched voices and can still be understood), but you can do that if you want.

My suggestion would be to either study linguistics or to work with a tutor who has training in linguistics and can help you. Alternatively, rather than trying to "explain" things with this 'fuzzy'(!) terminology, spend your time listening and practicing. It will probably be more helpful overall. But if those descriptions do work for you-- call sounds "fuzzy" or "happy" or "sad" or "big" or "small" or whatever you want-- then that's fine, but it isn't related to linguistics or a real explanation.
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2017, 07:07:14 PM »
So does the '' placement of voice'' have any meaning?Is that where the sound amplified?Base on physics,the resonance happens differently when the tongue pushes forward and pulls backward(e.g long ee and long oo).Then I feel difficult to understand why the consonance at throat and at the front of mouth have not any difference,or have not any meaning?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 07:43:41 PM by nguyen dung »

Offline Daniel

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2017, 08:18:46 PM »
Quote
So does the '' placement of voice'' have any meaning?
No, not really. It might relate to a vague understanding of how sounds are produced, but I don't understand what it means. It's possible the terminology is wrong/different, and there is a meaning I don't know, but that description seems inaccurate to me.

Quote
Base on physics,the resonance happens differently when the tongue pushes forward and pulls backward(e.g long ee and long oo).
That is correct.

Quote
Then I feel difficult to understand why the consonance at throat and at the front of mouth have not any difference,or have not any meaning?
Consonants do differ based on place of articulation. Consonants don't "mean" anything in themselves, but within words they can relate to different meanings. Compare "pan" and "can" with the P sound produced with the lips and the K sound produced with the back of the tongue. But this is not a difference between Vietnamese and English!
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2017, 08:28:29 PM »
If the space in throad open, then there is a consonance in throad.If it tense, then there is a consonance in mouth.So we have two different consonances.Then maybe the concept placement of voice still has meaning?

Offline Daniel

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2017, 08:47:59 PM »
I'm still not sure what you mean.

Maybe you are talking about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspirated_consonant

When in English we say P we actually say a small "h" sound following the P. This is produced in the throat.
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2017, 09:02:07 PM »
I mean, e.g say a as in cat:tongue back raise a bit,tongue tip behind lower front teeth,the tongue flat and wide,jaw drop...that are form of mouth.At the same time:the throat is opened to make ''some''consonant at throat.That ah sound of throat.The ''color'' of this ah is different from Vietnamese ah sound with tense throat.Please give  me a favour to answer my question.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 09:21:40 PM by nguyen dung »

Offline Daniel

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2017, 10:45:24 PM »
There are differences in tongue shape, etc. But describing them in non-scientific, imprecise ways, is not going to be very helpful.

A very good online tool for understanding how the sounds are made, including examples for all English sounds, is here:
http://soundsofspeech.uiowa.edu/english/english.html

I think that will answer your questions!
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Offline nguyen dung

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Re: A question:How to make throat and chest sounds as in English?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2017, 11:58:30 PM »
Thank you very much for your kind heart and great help.