Vowels and Consonants

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Consonants.

One of the characteristics of Pashto is the presence of retroflex consonants. Basically, retroflex means that the alveolar sounds in RP like /d/, /t/, /l/, /r/ are pronounced further back towards the palate /ɖ/, /ʈ/, /ɭ /, /ɻ / although this speaker is not consistent and alternates between the two types. The retroflex nature of the consonants is one of the main characteristics that people notice. Notice the retroflex “r” in first in the first example. In the third example notice the retroflex /ʈ/ in thought and the dental pronunciation of th in that /d̪/. Also notice in this example the retroflex /ʈ/ in thought and the dental pronunciation of th in that /d̪/. In example 4 the pronunciation of corner is rhotic, that is, it is followed by an “r” sound. Remember that RP is non-rhotic. In example 5 both Duke and tube are pronounced with /juː/ as in more conservative kinds of RP English. Most young RP speakers use the assimilated pronunciation of /dʒ/ and /tʃ/.

Vowels. Instead of the or vowel /ɔː/ in called we have an /æ/ in the first example. In example four the pronunciation of hat sounds like het. The word sat  and hat in example 7 are pronounced with an /ɛ/ vowel. This is also found in other accents of English.


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