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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Cantonese Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, we'll focus on final stops in Cantonese.
Cantonese is primarily made up of syllables, and each syllable can be broken down into three categories: The initial, final, and tone.
The initial refers to the beginning sound in the syllable.
The final refers to the ending sound in the syllable.
And last we have tone, which denotes the relative, or variation in pitch, of the syllable.
In this lesson, we'll only focus on sounds in the final position.
We'll also only be looking at 'stops' in the final position.
Stops are sounds which are produced when the airway closes momentarily so that no air can escape, the pressure then builds up, and air is released forcefully to create sound.
Stops in Cantonese include...
b (never used in the final position), p,
d (never used in the final position), t,
g, k
As you can see, we have three pairs of sounds which are quite similar to each other.
In this lesson, we'll be looking at the letters P T and K when they're in the final position.
Listen to a few examples which have the P in the final position.
十 (sap6)
答 (daap3)
合 (hap6)
Do you notice how the P sound appears to be cut off when it's in the final position? Listen to it again.
十 (sap6)
Now, compare that to the English word 'stamp'.
十 (sap6)
Unlike English, final stops like P are cut off at the end in Cantonese. This is classified as an 'unreleased stop', or a stop with 'no audible release'.
To pronounce a final stop, like a P in Cantonese, bring your lips together, but do *not* release the air as you would normally. Try it!
十 (sap6)
Next, let's take a look at a few examples which have the T in the final position.
突 (dat6)
七 (cat1)
乞 (hat1)
Contact the tip of the tongue with the gums behind the top teeth, but do *not* release the air. It's similar to the T sound in the word 'start'. Try it!
突 (dat6)
Finally, let's take a look at examples which have the K in the final position.
食 (sik6)
石 (sek6)
則 (zak1)
Contact the back of the tongue with the back part of the roof of your mouth, but do *not* release the air. Try it!
食 (sik6)
Now you know how to pronounce final stops in Cantonese!
In the next lesson, you'll learn how to produce all the tones in Cantonese!
Can you identify any unreleased stops in your language? Please comment and share your thoughts.
See you in the next Ultimate Cantonese Pronunciation Guide lesson!

13 Comments

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CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Can you identify any unreleased stops in your language? Please comment and share your thoughts.

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 02:27 PM
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Hi Elizabeth,


Thank you for the additional information. That's exactly how we say /p/ /t/ /k/ in Cantonese.


Australian English does sound beautiful and funny! 😆


Arnold

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Elizabeth
Sunday at 08:21 PM
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Australian English speakers use unreleased stops all the time! (Or something very similar.)

Usually if a word ends with a hard consonant such as d, t or p (eg. bed, sport, clap), Australians don't really pronounce the last letter.

It can be easy to confuse someone saying "I'm going to bed" (to sleep) with "I'm going to bet" (on the football)! 😮😁😆

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:56 AM
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Hi Hualani,


Thanks for posting. Great answer. 👍

The /d/ at the end of "wed" is unreleased. 😉


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Hualani
Monday at 08:34 AM
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In English, perhaps an unreleased stop is “d” in “wed”?


CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 10:09 AM
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Hello Lynn,


Sorry to keep you waiting.

In the article, it was talking about /p/ /t/ /k/ when they are in the final position.

/b/ and /d/ are never in the final position, so we only use them as initial (eg. bou2, do1).

It might have been confusing because they were listed under "stops in Cantonese include:", so we have already removed b and d from the list. 😉

/g/ is sort of a stop when it's in the final position, but it's not as an obvious "cut off" as /p/ /t/ /k/, it's like closing at the back of the throat to stop air from coming out.

I hope it helps you. 👍


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 10:41 AM
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Hi Lynn,


Thank you very much for your question!

I need to check with our team first and will get back to you. 😉


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Lynn
Sunday at 01:48 PM
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How about b,d,g when it it at the end of the syllable? Silent as well?

cantoneseclass101.com
Saturday at 04:53 PM
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Hello Devin,


Thank you for your comment.


The final p, t, and k are unreleased in Cantonese. This means that you must not release a burst of air when pronouncing this sound. Instead, it's more like you're cutting the sound off.

There are more detail explanation of it in the lesson below. Hope you find it useful.

Top 5 Cantonese Mistakes to Avoid

https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/lesson/ultimate-cantonese-pronunciation-guide-2-top-5-cantonese-mistakes-to-avoid/


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Devin
Wednesday at 12:04 AM
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There are some stops that are silent but none that I can think of that are unreleased

Cantoneseclass101.com Verified
Friday at 12:05 PM
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Hi Steven,


Maybe you can watch the video lesson couple more times and to get familiar with it first.


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com