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I am trying to learn Sanskrit alphabets, and want to see how I can pronounce the consonants. Then I noticed that when pronouncing the consonants, which are voiced and unvoiced, my vocal chords are vibrating for both the sounds and I am not able to distinguish between them.

Here are the consonants in question:

Consonant reference

I am unable to distinguish between any consonant sounds, which are voiced vs unvoiced. My vocal chords are vibrating for sounds or not vibrating at all, when I am pronouncing them.

Please tell me whether I am pronouncing wrongly or if I need to do in different manner.

Note: my native is Telugu (Dravidian language). Previously, I was not that strong in pronunciation. Now, I am exploring more into learning languages and trying to become more adept, in phonetic and pronunciation wise. So, any help will be appreciated.

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    May we ask what is your native language? – fdb Mar 19 '17 at 15:22
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If I am not mistaken, Telugu (unlike Tamil) has a distinction between voiceless stops (e.g. ప pa) and voiced stops (e.g. బ ba). Surely you can hear the difference?

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  • I had the same doubt as soon as I saw the OP's edit that they are Telugu ;) I didn't really see any much difference between the alphabets of the two languages since in both scripts, same alphabets are used as far as the sounds are concerned (barring a few exceptions) – pinkpanther Sep 17 '17 at 17:51
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The most practical approach is to locate a speaker of Hindi or Gujurati (or other language that has the distinctions that Sanskrit has which you're trying to learn), and practice with them. The goal would be to mimic their pronunciation, until they feel that your pronunciation is close enough (however, people vary wildly in their ability to give useful feedback, ranging from premature acceptance of terrible pronunciations to insisting on native-quality production). Another approach is to listen to (good) recordings of a relevant language, where you listen to a pronunciation and then mimic it. For Hindi and Gujurati, you can access various recordings of words on Forvo. (Words are simpler than repeating what you hear in a movie dialogue). That opens up the possibility of using the Forvo Sanskrit recordings. Some of the recordings are garbage, and you have to watch out for posers (people who are not "speakers" in any real sense).

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  • In fact, even Telugu (the OP's, and my native language) has the distinction, alphabets are more or less same except for the graphic part – pinkpanther Sep 17 '17 at 17:53

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