Author: szswings

Your Voice is Dependent on You Mother Tongue [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-5-16 23:34:50 |Display all floors
Originally posted by caringhk at 2007-5-15 14:37



How many you are able to judge correctly???

Do yo know voice hardly changes over time.......



No, I dont think so, it is obviously easy to tell who is speaking when an old woman and a young girl are sitting together behined you.

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Post time 2007-5-16 23:36:41 |Display all floors
Actually, Swing

Do you notice that the African Americans' voices are different from European Americans'?
Yo, Yo, Yo.

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Post time 2007-5-17 12:03:20 |Display all floors
Originally posted by emucentral at 2007-5-15 17:16


What a great post szswings.

A very interesting perspective on spoken language and its effect on listeners.

As a native English speaker in Australia, I do not get much opportunity to listen to Chinese language voices in daily life, however I have occasionally watched the CCTV News which is re-broadcast here.
Reading your comment above, I am inclined to agree, while spoken Putonghua is very foreign to me (I don't understand it) and the particular sounds common to the language are very unfamiliar to a native English speaker, the combination of the tones used and the sibilant consonants do work well for female speakers as they sound attractive or "cute".

Your thoughtful post has got me thinking more about this characteristic of various languages, dialects and accents.

Once again, good post.

Cheers
JB


Thank you for you praise :) I AM very glad that those thoughts can be interesting to others.

That post is in fact two articles I once tried to contribute to an English-language newspaper intended solely for Chinese learners of English, run by China Daily. But its editors showed no interest in them, so I have put them here. That is why they were originally written with a Chinese audience in mind.

Originally I intended to write a part (3) where to talk about voices of both native Chinese women and native English speaking women and also about somthing else, but since those editors rejected the articles, I didn't continue.

As I have observed, native Engish speaking women under the age of 33 or so, especially those from the US and Canada, speak with a higher voice pitch than native Chinese women of about the same age. This point can, I believe, be proved with scientific rigor. Because young women's voice pitch is by nature quite high already, the pitch of the former group's voice is made a bit higher by the English language as their mother tongue, and their pitch range narrowed to a certain extent. By comparison, the voice of the latter group sounds softer, and perhpas more tender, than that of the former. This is one of the reasons why the voice of female native speakers of Chinese tends to sound more attractive than that of female native speakers of English. (Again, my personal view.)

Then the question arises whether the reason for this difference in pitch is biological (that is, white native English speaking women have such vocal organs as physically produce sounds of higher frequency than those of native Chinese women) or linguistic (that is, it is the two languages' different ways of articulation that cause the pitch difference). (As a matter of fact, in the articles starting this thread, a similar but much more general question should have been asked - about the differences in voice, not just voice pitch, between native speakers of different languages.)

It is linguistic. There is at least the following evidence. Chinese-Americans that were born in the US and have grown up there have voices that are genuinely 'American', intead of voices typical of native Chinese speakers. And there is a white American woman, named 爱华 in Chinese, that has grown up in China, and whose parents are white Americans that have come from the US and worked here; so she is a native speaker of both English and Chinese. The surprising thing is that when she speaks English, her voice is that of a female native speaker of North American English, of a relatively high pitch, whereas when she speaks Chinese, her voice is that of a native Chinese woman, of a lower pitch.


Cheers :)


.

.

[ Last edited by szswings at 2007-5-17 12:36 PM ]

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Post time 2007-5-18 18:02:21 |Display all floors
Originally posted by pjtran at 2007-5-16 21:35
i'm a vietnamese chinese american...my cantonese/mandarin sounds much better than some other folks either in china or here in the STATES (i didn't claim that but some people telling me that...just  ...


Then you have more than one native languague!

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Post time 2007-5-18 18:04:32 |Display all floors
Originally posted by lovable at 2007-5-16 23:08
While I was still in the school, there were basically two types of English learners: the fervant advocators of the southern? english accent (or RP) and those who seemed not care about it at all.

Most of my friends in the formal group (well not many actually)claimed that they were not merely attracted to the sound of RP, but also the ways it will make them sound like: A real gentle man/woman and 'far' more educated than like if they speak in an American way.

Could it be in fact the reflection of the characteristics of the accents and not just the different voices that decides which type of English we will like better? "
...


In my case, it is purely the voice and pronunciation of RP that make me like it better. At the age of 15, my English being then at an elementary level, I started to listen to both the BBC and VOA. Gradually I was clear about the phonetic differences between RP and the general American accent, and gradually I found myself strongly attracted by RP. Lator on, I listened only to the BBC. But in those days I knew absolutely nothing about the associations of RP with social class, privilege, and so on. Only several years later, after I myself had aquired an RP accent, did I read at my university library about the fact that in Britain it was the accent of upper-class people, and that an RP speaker sounded well educated, but nowadays the accent might be considered affected.

I don't mind whether RP is prestigious or not, but I hope that how the native speakers pronounce it won't change.

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Post time 2007-5-18 18:08:19 |Display all floors
Originally posted by tirpitz at 2007-5-16 23:18
Could be, I find it funny when my english colege and I (original german, but 26 years in america now) talke to the local chinese people that speak english.
They always tell him that they dont understand his english, and that they understand my english just fine. It makes him so mad.
Just proves that the one thing wrong with the English (british) people is, that they cant speak english worth a damn.


The English spoken by a non-native speaker of it, so long as his or her pronunciation is not too bad, is indeed easier for another non-native speaker to understand than a native speaker' English. I have always seen such things happen to Chinese learners of English. So the level of English of the said Chinese people is probably not advanced enough for them to totally understand native speakers of English. Also, perhaps they are simply not used to listening to your colleague's accent, but more used to an American accent, which you have, having been in America for 26 years.

`

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Post time 2007-5-18 18:09:17 |Display all floors
Originally posted by kissvampire at 2007-5-16 23:36
Actually, Swing

Do you notice that the African Americans' voices are different from European Americans'?
Yo, Yo, Yo.


Yes, I am aware of it. (However, maybe that's not the case for all African Americans.)

I believe that different accents of the same language can form different voice types. African Americans' accents are normally conspicuously different from those of  European Americans. As I know (but I am not sure), many, many black people in America live together in regions of the country or districts of cities where white people are the minority: thus they can form accents and a voice type of their own.

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