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Numbers of vowels and consonants in Chinese ?


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#16 liketolearn

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:10 PM

I am talking about North Vietnamese.
I see that in this link, http://vi.wiktionary....org/wiki/xoăn (probably translation done by machine), it has the /w/ sound.
It has difficulty, though, in irregular words containing "".


I am not Northern Vietnamese, but as a Vietnamese who has been educated thoroughly on Vietnamese language and who has listened a lot to news in Northern Viet accent, I can guarantee you that swan and swing in English doesn't sound like xoan and xuynh in Northern Vietnamese (I don't think IPA system is really accurate, because how can a small amount of symbols describe all the sounds of all languages in the whole world?)
Some Northern Vietnamese may think they sound the same because the [w] doesn't exist in Northern Vietnamese. wan would be changed to oan, wen would be changed to oen and so on. Southern Vietnamese is the opposite. Things like "oa", "oe" don't exist in Southern Vietnamese so they change "oan" to "wan" and so on.

It seems that the same feature is found in Cantonese. In Cantonese, if /w/ neither takes the first place nor follow k/kh, it will "merge with the rhyme".
For example, in Middle Chinese 軌 and 水 rhyme. But in Cantonese, 軌 is gwai2 (Viet: quy) but 水 is seui2 (eui sounds somewhat between i and ơi).

again, is this an influence of Cantonese on Southern Vietnamese because there are many Cantonese residing in South Vietnam?

Northern Vietnamese still keeps the h- and -n intact, so I am guessing it is more like hWing, hWan.
This was what I thought: huynh -> hw+inh, hoan -> hw + an (applies in North as well).

Southern Vietnamese drops the h-, then change the uynh to wing, and oan to wang
This is similar to the case of quynh and quan, the q- is dropped, then uynh becomes wing, uan becomes wang

quan, hoan, and oan <--- These 3 words sound the same in Southern Vietnamese, all sound like "Wang"
quy, huy, and uy ---- All sounds like "wi"
hoa, qua, and oa --- All sounds like "wa"
and so on

In Cantonese, /hw/ never occurs. Sometimes what you would expect to be /hw/ is changed to w, sometimes to f.

So it's similar to how Southern Vietnamese change hoa to wa, hoen to wen...
But Southern Vietnamese never change /hw/ to f

So Mandarin 還 hun is waan4 in Cantonese, Mandarin huān 歡 is fun1 in Cantonese.
(ok, 還 and 歡 didn't rhyme in Middle Chinese, but merged in Mandarin)

還 and 歡 rhyme in Vietnamese. Hoan and Hon. Same ending, same tone category (bằng tones)

Anyway, to analyze "tuyệt" as "tw" + "iệt" helps in learning how to pronounce "-uy-".

probably, but it's a bit off though.
Because in "tuyệt", the "y" is emphasized over the "". But in "it", the "" is emphasized over the "i"


I wonder though, if quốc sounds more like quấc than quốc. Afterall, u and u differ mostly by length.

I think it's more like quốc.
But Southern Vietnamese just change it to u (w) for some reason I don't know.

Nope. I just "observed" the dictionaries and other things. To verify it, I can listen to some videos in Youtube.
I can find some mistakes in vowels as well, I wonder if it's Southern Vietnamese trying to pronounce the standard language, though, for example "u" pronounced like "u".
From phonetics in Wikipedia, I notice that in "đến", n is pronounced like n in South.

I never pronounce u like u when I try to speak Standard Vietnamese but other Southern Viet may. I don't know. It depends on which area they come from. But usually "u" is pronounced as "iu" in Southern Viet.

Actually I think you are right on the n ~ n thing. I've never noticed this. But I think the change is more obvious in "miền Ty" (South and West of Saigon) and less obvious in Saigon. The Saigonese accent is probably not a genuine Southern Viet accent because they are influenced a lot by Standard Vietnamese. Since the Saigonese are very educated in reading and writing, they would say the words in a way that it is closed to the way they are written.
For example, before I learned how to read and write Vietnamese, I called my mom's name "xun" as "xưng", but after I learned how to read and write, I say "xung" :D

BTW, since you mentioned n~n, here are some changes that I noticed

bệnh --> bịn or bợn (but different from Northern Viet bịn and bợn)
knh --> kin or kơn (but different from Northern Viet kin and kơn)
Actually the -nh is changed to n in Southern Viet.
Like canh --> căn (but different from Northern Viet căn)

And -ch is changed to -t
trch --> trắt (but different from Northern Viet trắt)
lệch --> lợt (but different from Northern Việt lợt)

Also in this way I could observe that
1. In Vietnamese songs, sometimes -k -t -p is changed to -ng -n -m to make the sound pronounceable longer, similar thing can be found in Cantonese songs.

or when the tone is slightly changed due to the music notes :D

4. Northern Vietnamese ch doesn't sound quite like /c/. Something closer to /ts/, perhaps /tɕ/.

I just notice that Northern Viet put lots of air into their ch and tr. I'm not sure if they do distinguish ch and tr.

btw, I never thought of it before, is "Việt" really pronounced like "Yuck" in South? :P

Việt sounds like Yiệk in Southern Vietnamese
perhaps sometimes Yiợk (no emphasis on the ơ)


BTW should this topic be moved? Since we're talking more about Vietnam than Chinese...

#17 qrasy

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 08:01 AM

(I don't think IPA system is really accurate, because how can a small amount of symbols describe all the sounds of all languages in the whole world?)

IPA has already so many signs compared to Latin. And for some sounds they have to make modifier characters (e.g. diacritics) which are most of the time omitted. For example, k in English "king" should be [kʰ] but they omit the "ʰ".

Btw, lost of the time the problem is not the IPA itself, but of the ones who transcribe it.
For example, in Cantonese, the 花 sounds /fa:/ to me and clearly distinguishable from /fɑ:/, but we can still find Wikipedia article trying to transcribe it with ɑ. Many languages don't distinguish a from ɑ, then the problem comes.

Some Northern Vietnamese may think they sound the same because the [w] doesn't exist in Northern Vietnamese. wan would be changed to oan, wen would be changed to oen and so on.

Not that you mentioned it, I find that loi doesn't sound lwi.
Most western languages will also not distinguish them.

again, is this an influence of Cantonese on Southern Vietnamese because there are many Cantonese residing in South Vietnam?

Indeed Hakka and Cantonese lost many "double consonants" with -w-.
One thing that are "South Vietnamese own inventions" is kw -> w change. Kw is preserved in Cantonese.
Also an/ang confusion is not common, we find it in Mindong and Shanghai area and not further South.

Southern Vietnamese drops the h-, then change the uynh to wing, and oan to wang
This is similar to the case of quynh and quan, the q- is dropped, then uynh becomes wing, uan becomes wang

Perhaps there is an "intermediate step" where it's changed to hw, kw first.

But Southern Vietnamese never change /hw/ to f

I suspected that the change khy->y and khw->f in Cantonese have the kh->h first as they do "simplify" the sounds hw and hy to f and y...
hw and f confusion is really common in South China. Min, Hunan, Hakka and Cantonese all have this confusion.
Seems that this explanation doesn't work in South Vietnam.

還 and 歡 rhyme in Vietnamese. Hoan and Hon. Same ending, same tone category (bằng tones)

Yeah, but Middle Chinese had some complicated sets of vowels and it's perfectly understandable that even Vietnamese don't distinguish them.
Or they might be distinguishable in some rare dialect of Vietnam. I've heard about a dialect where "South" is "Nm" instead of "Nam".

probably, but it's a bit off though.
Because in "tuyệt", the "y" is emphasized over the "". But in "it", the "" is emphasized over the "i"

This reminds me that some time ago a Northern Vietnamese said that Southern Vietnamese pronounce tuyệt like tuỵt.
But indeed, the in tuyệt and in niệm sounds a bit different when I listened more carefully.

I think it's more like quốc.
But Southern Vietnamese just change it to u (w) for some reason I don't know.

LOL... seems that I edited it wrongly.
It should be something like
"I wonder though, if quốc sounds more like quấc than cuốc"

Since the Saigonese are very educated in reading and writing, they would say the words in a way that it is closed to the way they are written

This might be the case of v, the strangest change ever. Cantonese and Hakka confuse this sound with w and Minnan confuse v with b.
I wonder why South Vietnamese choose the sound y instead? If it's only before i then it's understandable (as Chinese often change wi to yu) but vợ doesn't contain any "i/y".

For example, before I learned how to read and write Vietnamese, I called my mom's name "xun" as "xưng", but after I learned how to read and write, I say "xung" :D

The Wikipedia article implies that sounds more like "xwưng" :P

bệnh --> bịn or bợn (but different from Northern Viet bịn and bợn)

Well, this "but different" thing makes me think that it's impossible for me to tell what is the closest IPA signs unless I listen to them myself.

I just notice that Northern Viet put lots of air into their ch and tr. I'm not sure if they do distinguish ch and tr.

I hear one Vietnamese pronounce it as real /c/ which has little airflow, and I guess it's probably South. It's often said that Hanoi variant doesn't distinguish ch from tr.

Việt sounds like Yiệk in Southern Vietnamese
perhaps sometimes Yiợk (no emphasis on the ơ)

Yeah, but what Westerners will tell you.

BTW should this topic be moved? Since we're talking more about Vietnam than Chinese...

Well, we haven't finished talking about Chinese yet, and at least not the entire topic should be moved.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the liedeliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - JFK

One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#18 asiaeast

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:11 AM

Are you serious?

So for the word "lian" as in lotus, you say LEE-AN? It's hard for me to believe.


Like someone pointed out, maybe I'm being taught to over emphasize it to get the vowels correct.

For example, for money I say 'qian' or CHEE-AN. That way I don't forget the "i" and end up saying something like 'chan'.

I also like to think, CHEE is low and -AN is higher in pitch. That way my tones work better. The middle notes during the slide of the tone should occur on the vowels, not the consonants. The consonants are on the beginning and ending pitch. Something like this: CH=the root note, ee= the third step, an=the fifth step. Actually, I probably over-do my tones as well at this time. Most people only speak in a vocal range of 5 notes or less. In fact, most singers only have a great grasp on 5 notes or less, although I won't mention any names here. :clapping:

The truth is, we all gotta find our own way. Whatever works for you is best. Right?

When I first moved to Taiwan I kept asking my Taiwanese wife were we could eat some chow mien, but I pronounced it "chow main", until she finally figured out I mean chow "MEE-AN".

Now I know all about gung fu, dofu, shang gong and other words we've messed up in the west. :notworthy:

#19 qrasy

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 11:42 AM

Like someone pointed out, maybe I'm being taught to over emphasize it to get the vowels correct.

As for over-emphasizing, for heavily-accented native speakers it might be all right, but for me it can be quite disruptive (even though likely understandable).

For example, I distinguish /p/, /pʰ/, /b/, /bʱ/

In Cantonese only /p/ and /pʰ/ exists, whereas in English only /pʰ/ and /b/ can occur initially.
To emphasize that the /p/ in some words are not aspirated, some English-speaking Westerners pronounce it as /b/. Average Cantonese cannot tell the difference, but that way it doesn't sound Cantonese to me.
In Javanese there are only /p/ and /bʱ/. To emphasize that we still have the aspiration in /pʰ/ in Cantonese, they pronounce them as /bʱ/, which even an average Cantonese can tell.

Edited by qrasy, 17 February 2009 - 11:43 AM.

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#20 xng

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:24 PM

Initial consonant: Shanghai > Mandarin > Cantonese > Minnan


Mandarin - c, c', ch, ch', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', r, s, sh, t, t', w, y (20)

Cantonese - c, c', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, ng, p, p', s, t, t', w, y (17)

Minnan - b, c, c', g (ng), h, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', s, t, t' (15)

(why is it that a,e,i,o,u cannot be consonant in minnan ?)

Can somebody list the vietnamese initial consonant using the standard letters above (by not using vietnamese quốc ngữ alphabet).

North vietnamese -

South vietnamese -

Edited by xng, 17 February 2009 - 12:41 PM.


#21 xng

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:34 PM

Ending consonant: Minnan > Cantonese > Mandarin, Shanghai


Ending consonant:

Minnan = k,t,p,m,n,ng and glottal stop (7)

Cantonese = k,t,p,m,n,ng (6)

Mandarin, Shanghai = n, ng (2)

North vietnamese = ?

South vietnamese = ?

Edited by xng, 17 February 2009 - 12:40 PM.


#22 qrasy

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:59 PM

Mandarin - c, c', ch, ch', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', r, s, sh, t, t', w, y (20)

Better not make confusion by using c. I think ts is better.
And I don't think that it's in any ways "standard".

And then the "r" is also easily confused with the Thai r which are easily distinguishable.
Also, there are /ɕ/ /tɕ/ /tɕʰ/ which are different consonants in Bopomofo and sounds different but is generally confused with ts ts' s.
w and y are not usually considered separate consonants, as we can see in bopomofo.
So there are 21.

Cantonese - c, c', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, ng, p, p', s, t, t', w, y (17)

It's Standard Cantonese. Seems that only kw and kw' are missed.
There are 19 in total.

Minnan - b, c, c', g (ng), h, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', s, t, t' (15)

One consonant is missed: e.g. 兒 ji /dzi/.
g=ng, m=b and l=n=d except in the variants where nasalization is dropped creating minimal pairs.
I think there are 14.

(why is it that a,e,i,o,u cannot be consonant in minnan ?)

Those are indeed not consonants in any language. What are you asking about?

North vietnamese -

b c d f g h k kh l m n ny ng s t t' v z (p)
18 consonants
b d g are pronounced harder than English ones.
kh is like Mainland Mandarin k' and unlike Cantonese.
ny is as found in Malay
kw, khw etc are not counted
p is foreign. w and y are not found initially, only have things like oan and in to approximate

South vietnamese -

b c d f g k kh l m n ny ng "r" s sh t t' "ch'" w y (p)
21: have r, sh, tr, w, y but not v and z.
"ch" to approximate rolled tr.
I think "gi" is changed to "y".

Neither of them shows the maximum distinction that can be found in Vietnamese.
b c d f g k kh l m n ny ng r s sh t t' v "ch" z zh (p)
Hanoi Viet missed the rolled consonants (卷舌音, "ch" sh zh) and trilled r.
zh (written gi) is pronounced like Mandarin r and r is like Thai r trilled.
22 consonants, even without w and y

Ending consonant:

Mandarin, Shanghai = n, ng (2)

Not true for Shanghai.
In Shanghai, there is only one distinctive nasal and the glottal stop.
-n, -ʔ
(I guess that the -n can change to -ng, -m, -nh depending on word, but they are not distinguished)

North vietnamese = ?

South vietnamese = ?

p t k m n ng
Some variants of Vietnamese have nh pronounced different from n and ng, but I guess most pronounce the -nh more like -ing, e.g. anh -> "aing"

Edited by qrasy, 17 February 2009 - 01:05 PM.

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One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#23 xng

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:49 PM

One consonant is missed: e.g. 兒 ji /dzi/.
g=ng, m=b and l=n=d except in the variants where nasalization is dropped creating minimal pairs.
I think there are 14.


M and b are different distinguishable sound for the same minnan dialect.

罵 May <> 馬 Bay

l <> n because this is considered lazy sounds just like hong kong cantonese but can be spoken correctly by purists.

As for mandarin:

Mandarin also has kw, kw'

Edited by xng, 17 February 2009 - 01:53 PM.


#24 xng

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:58 PM

b c d f g k kh l m n ny ng "r" s sh t t' "ch'" w y (p)


How do they pronounce 'Ho Chi Minh' if they don't have H consonant ?

#25 liketolearn

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 09:29 PM

Well I don't have much time so I'll reply to qrasy's post later.

for xng, I'll list the Vietnamese initials in Quốc Ngữ because I don't know whether you perceive those "symbols" the same way as I perceive them.

Northern Vietnamese: b, c/k, d (z), đ, g, h, l, m, n, s/x, t, v, ch/tr, kh, ng, nh, th, ph, gi
Southern Vietnamese: b, c/k, d (y), đ, g, h, l, m, n, r, s, t, x, w, ch, tr, kh, ng, nh, th, ph

Consonant Endings:
Northern Vietnamese: m, n, ng, nh, p, t, c, ch
Southern Vietnamese: m, ng, p, t ..... -n is only heard in anh/inh/nh, -t is only heard in ach/ich/ch

edit: I notice that there are always two guests reading these topics immediately every time I make a new post. It's like there are two people that always follow me. scarry.

Edited by liketolearn, 17 February 2009 - 09:35 PM.


#26 qrasy

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 10:34 AM

M and b are different distinguishable sound for the same minnan dialect.

罵 May <> 馬 Bay

l <> n because this is considered lazy sounds just like hong kong cantonese but can be spoken correctly by purists.

Curiously, the dictionary at UCLA shows 罵 as maⁿ6 and 馬 as b3/maⁿ3. (b is written m there and maⁿ as ma)

This is following Pinyin more closely so that b there is just /p/.

Look here: http://solution.cs.u.../dzl/lookup.php there's no l-n difference. And then comparing to Middle Chinese alone, if there were solid distinction in Minnan, why would 蓮 start with n and 汝/你 start with l?

As for mandarin:

Mandarin also has kw, kw'

Those don't sound kw and kw' to me. -w- and -u- is really a thin difference but I can tell; actually by length alone is enough.

How do they pronounce 'Ho Chi Minh' if they don't have H consonant ?

You are right, I somehow jumped through the alphabet and forgot H :unsure:
So the count should all add by 1.

Northern Vietnamese: b, c/k, d (z), đ, g, h, l, m, n, s/x, t, v, ch/tr, kh, ng, nh, th, ph, gi

There you get an extra d-gi distinction in the North. I think this as a double-count as the "standard" version have /z/ for r,gi,d.

edit: I notice that there are always two guests reading these topics immediately every time I make a new post. It's like there are two people that always follow me. scarry.

I think it can happen when you have Google Desktop installed.

Edited by qrasy, 18 February 2009 - 10:35 AM.

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One thing is for certain: the more profoundly baffled you have been in your life, the more open your mind becomes to new ideas. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

#27 xng

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:10 PM

Curiously, the dictionary at UCLA shows 罵 as maⁿ6 and 馬 as b3/maⁿ3. (b is written m there and maⁿ as ma)

This is following Pinyin more closely so that b there is just /p/.

Look here: http://solution.cs.u.../dzl/lookup.php there's no l-n difference. And then comparing to Middle Chinese alone, if there were solid distinction in Minnan, why would 蓮 start with n and 汝/你 start with l?


UCLA website is just an approximation of the sounds to simplify their own pinyin which roughly follows mandarin pinyin. They don't want to use 3 consonants b,p,p' so they simplify to b,p. They also simplify the 'j' consonant so that they can use z, c instead of j, c, c'.

I listen to a lot of taiwanese shows and also listen and speak minnan to a lot of people.

Next time you go to taiwan, southern malaysia, singapore, just ask how they pronounce 兩. It is 'Neng' but UCLA list it as 'Leng'. Egg 卵 is also pronounced 'Neng' not 'Leng'.

蓮 is lien whereas 汝/你 should be 'N' but because of lazy sound, it is now 'l'.

Edited by xng, 18 February 2009 - 01:16 PM.


#28 xng

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:22 PM

for xng, I'll list the Vietnamese initials in Quốc Ngữ because I don't know whether you perceive those "symbols" the same way as I perceive them.


I think Vietnamese initials are based on portugese sounds so it is very confusing for non-viet people like me who are more used to English sounds.

Your 'tr' sounds to me like 'train' in english until Qrasy pointed out it is similar to 'c' sound.

You should try to convert it into english sounds.

#29 xng

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:32 PM

Mandarin - c, c', ch, ch', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', r, s, sh, t, t', w, y (20)

Cantonese - c, c', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, ng, p, p', s, t, t', w, y (17)

Minnan - b, c, c', g (ng), h, j, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', s, t, t' (16)

I am not sure about kw, kw' which seems to exist in all 3 languages.

#30 qrasy

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:46 PM

UCLA website is just an approximation of the sounds to simplify their own pinyin which roughly follows mandarin pinyin. They don't want to use 3 consonants b,p,p' so they simplify to b,p. They also simplify the 'j' consonant so that they can use z, c instead of j, c, c'.

What do you mean by "j"? In Fujianese there's no such difference as Pinyin j and z. It's all right to write 錢 (白) as zi (i is pronounced) and a bit off with j.
And it's not just an approximation to Mandarin as we can see that [b] and [g] are written as m and ng respectively, not things like bh-gh or v-q as in some other Pinyin-based romanizations.
It's more likely related to Minnan's restrictions in phonology, for example "ou" is used to mean "small o" in contrast with "o" to refer to "big o".

And then it seems that this variant doesn't have the [dz] (as in 日熱 of Indonesian Mandarin), perhaps because it's /ni-/ in nasalized form and confuse with the plain n which has the denasalized form of [l].
In some variant the /l/ can be pronounced as [d] (and /dz/ becomes [d] as well), but that's no real distinction.

In some place I forgot in Indonesia, the Hokkien speakers can't distinguish d from l. So "Lia" (name) sounds the same as "Dia" (he/she).

Next time you go to taiwan, southern malaysia, singapore, just ask how they pronounce 兩. It is 'Neng' but UCLA list it as 'Leng'. Egg 卵 is also pronounced 'Neng' not 'Leng'.

Do you know what is called "allophony"? That means, things that are not distinguished by native speakers but may sound different to most people.
Just like k in king and k in skill are pronounced different, but still they are written as /k/ in the pronunciation guide. In actuality, the k in king is [kʰ] and k in skill is [k]. The rule is that after [s], the stops are unaspirated.
As for Minnan, the rule is that the denasalized consonant will change to the nasal one when it's followed by underlined vowel or eng.
I think beng, leng cannot be found because it will change to meng, neng in the realization.

The thing that makes m-b l-d-n g-ng distinct in overseas Hokkien is perhaps because:
1. that most languages in Southeast Asia do have those distinctions
2. ⁿ is not phonemic in most Southeast Asian languages and in other Southern Chinese languages. The dropping of ⁿ makes e.g. maⁿ and ba differ only by the initial.

I have heard myself that m and b are indeed confused by native Minnan speakers.
I saw a professor with heavy Minnan accent and he speaks English different from the rest of the mainlanders.
"boundary" more like "mow-dary". (n is dropped, comparable to Vietnamese, but the important point is the b->m change)
"volume" more like "bolume"
"example" more like "ek-dzam-pe" (second e as in her or Vietnamese ơ)
"rigid lid" more like "rigiddid".

蓮 is lien whereas 汝/你 should be 'N' but because of lazy sound, it is now 'l'.

I don't think 蓮 as an isolated word is read as lien.
I think it should be something like nuiⁿ or noiⁿ instead. (edit: see the UCLA dictionary, 蓮 in 蓮花 doesn't end with ien)
As for the "lazy sound" of 汝/你, it has to have been well-established before they come to Indonesia and Malaysia. I always find "l-" initial for Hokkien.
Just like, you don't pronounce Cantonese 言 with ng- even though classically it had the ng- initial. Yin4 is the standard Cantonese.

Your 'tr' sounds to me like 'train' in english until Qrasy pointed out it is similar to 'c' sound.

It's pronounced with the tongue backward, just like sh. The tr is between a rolled t and a rolled ts.

Mandarin - c, c', ch, ch', f, h, k, k', l, m, n, p, p', r, s, sh, t, t', w, y (20)

Let me point out that you miss 3 consonant and added 2 more consonant when compared to Taiwanese Zhuyinzimu.
Firstly, the consonants in jqx (ㄐㄑㄒ) sound a bit different from the zcs (ㄗㄘㄙ) which explains the difference in writing. But most Southerners don't have such kind of distinction. Common Malaysian/Indonesian Mandarin even merged the zh ch sh ㄓㄔㄕ as well.
There's no consonants representing w and y in Mandarin: we only have ㄨㄧㄩ.
In Indonesian Mandarin, 一 is pronounced "i" (with glottal stop, just like English letter E) even though it's written "yi" in Pinyin and we can distinguish "i" from "yi".

w/y seem to be gaining position, though, as in the words 文, 羊.
Some people replace the w with v-like sound [β].

for w/u distinction, one way to tell a Southerner from Northerner is to test whether 純 rhymes with 文.

I am not sure about kw, kw' which seems to exist in all 3 languages.

If you just compare the pronunciation of the 'uan/wan/oan' rhyme just like in 關 you will find that the length of the 'u' audibly varies between those 3 languages. Roundedness also different.

Edited by qrasy, 18 February 2009 - 03:15 PM.

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