Linguistics: tense and lax consonants in English

In summary, the conversation revolves around the topic of tenseness and laxness of consonants in English. The participants discuss whether these qualities depend on how people say them and if there are specific consonants that are considered tense or lax in English. They also mention that listening to well-spoken individuals such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins can help improve one's understanding of classical BBC English. The conversation concludes with a suggestion for the individual to seek out a dedicated forum for learners of English for further information on this topic.
  • #1
fxdung
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Do tenseness and laxness of consonants in English depend on people saying them?Or are there tense and lax consonants in English?If there are, which consonants(in English) are tense and which are lax consonants?
 
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  • #2
fxdung said:
Do tenseness and laxness of consonants in English depend on people saying them?Or are there tense and lax consonants in English?If there are, which consonants(in English) are tense and which are lax consonants?
Yes. If you want to learn classical BBC English then listen to Christopher Hitchens. Probably the most beautiful orator I have ever come across.
Richard Dawkins is also very well spoken and speaks what I would regard as perfect English.
Aesthetically pleasing on the ear to a Brit but that is just me. Others may differ.
 
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  • #3
I've a question for you. Why are you asking these questions here, on >physics< forums? I don't think we have a single working linguist active on these boards. Or an EFL teacher. You'd be better served in a dedicated forum for learners of English.
 
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  • #5
The better question is whether he asks his physics questions on the language forums. :wink:
 
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  • #6
You might try searching for fortis and lenis, which are the technical terms that linguists use for "tense" and "lax". I remember them from a textbook on German phonetics that I used when I was an undergraduate. I think I mentioned that book in one of your other threads on pronunciation.
 

Related to Linguistics: tense and lax consonants in English

1. What is the difference between tense and lax consonants in English?

Tense consonants are produced with a greater degree of muscular tension in the vocal tract, resulting in a longer and more intense sound. Lax consonants, on the other hand, are produced with less tension and are shorter and less intense in sound.

2. How do tense and lax consonants affect the meaning of words in English?

In English, tense and lax consonants can change the meaning of a word. For example, the words "bit" and "beat" differ only in the tense/lax quality of the "i" sound, resulting in two different words with distinct meanings.

3. Are there specific rules for when to use tense and lax consonants in English?

Yes, there are some general rules for when to use tense and lax consonants in English. For example, tense consonants are usually used before stressed syllables, while lax consonants are used before unstressed syllables. However, there are also many exceptions to these rules, and the use of tense and lax consonants can also vary depending on regional dialects and individual speech patterns.

4. Can non-native speakers learn to distinguish between tense and lax consonants in English?

Yes, with practice and training, non-native speakers can learn to distinguish between tense and lax consonants in English. It may require a lot of listening and repetition, but with proper instruction and practice, it is possible to improve one's ability to differentiate between these sounds.

5. How does the use of tense and lax consonants differ in other languages?

The use of tense and lax consonants can vary greatly in different languages. Some languages, such as Spanish and Italian, have a clear distinction between tense and lax consonants, while others, like Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, do not differentiate between these sounds. Additionally, the rules for using these sounds may differ from language to language, making it important for language learners to be aware of these differences when studying a new language.

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