Different pronunciation of column 3 of consonants

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Different pronunciation of column 3 of consonants

Postby dharmafootsteps » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:10 pm

In trying to learn the alphabet I've come across a split in the way the letters in the third column (the low tone, aspirated letters) of the alphabet are pronounced. The sources I'm using are all courses teaching Central/Standard Tibetan.

For example:

ག seems to be pronounced either the same as ཁ, but with a low tone [kʰà] or it's pronounced [ɡà].
This seems to be the same for the first 5 rows, the third column is either pronounced the same as the previous but with a low tone, or they change to ga, ja, da, ba, dza.

Looking at this wiki page they do indeed give these two different IPA pronunciations for that column: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wylie_transliteration

Can anyone shed any light onto the two pronunciations? Are the slightly different variations of the Standard dialect, are the different pronunciations used in different contexts or is there some other reason?

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Re: Different pronunciation of column 3 of consonants

Postby Temicco » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:12 am

They're allophones of the same phoneme. When no letter precedes the the 3rd column sounds in a given syllable then they are pronounced low, voiceless, and aspirated; but when there is a sngon 'jug or mgo can beforehand, the pronunciation becomes high, voiced, and unaspirated. As well, voiced sounds at the end of the previous word (e.g. "n") can cause the consonant to undergo voicing assimilation.


ga -- voiceless, aspirated

_ga -- voiced, unaspirated (where _ stands for any letter that can go there)
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Re: Different pronunciation of column 3 of consonants

Postby MiphamFan » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:54 am

Also depends on dialect.

In Kham even when they are alone they are just pronounced voiced.

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