Aspirated consonant

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In Taiwanese phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of breath that accompanies the release of obstruents. The aspirated consonants are ph, th, kh, ch, zh (IPA: [pʰ], [tʰ], [kʰ], [tɕʰ], [tsʰ]). They are composed of the symbols for the plain, unvoiced, unaspirated consonant (see tenuis consonant), followed by the letter h for aspiration.

You may have already noticed that this is a bit different from English, which always aspirates p, t, and k when they occur at the beginning of words.

Peh-oe-ji, the ancestor of MTL, also uses h to denote aspiration (leaving b, d, g, and j for the muddy or voiced consonants). A similar convention is also found in:

Other notes:

  • In Japanese, the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ are slightly aspirated: less aspirated than English stops, but more so than Spanish.
  • French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish do not have phonemic aspirated consonants.