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Some questions on Indonesian pronounciation

I am looking at resources online and I also know a native speaker in real life but not very well.

In all online resources it says that p is pronounced like p in English. For words like bapak, this is correct.

However, when I pronounce payung with the p as the p, she corrected me and said what sounded like bayung. And when I repeated this pronouncing the p as a b, she said I was saying it correctly.

Same as cepat. She told me to pronounce it as cebat.

When I pronounce p as p in English she says it's wrong, but when I pronounce p as b in English she says it's correct.

It's also the same for other letters. Like she's telling me to pronounce k as a hard g in some words. Like anak kecil she tells me to pronounce anak gecil.

I am utterly confused....

For learning: Indonesian
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    Hi there, xyz987:

    Approximate pronunciations are always a source of confusion in language learning. When you were told that the Indonesian p is the same as the English p, that information was not quite correct. English <p> tends to be aspirated - that means you hear a puff of air after the consonant sound. If you say "pin" or "pout" and put your hand an inch or so away from your mouth, you'll feel a puff of air, written in IPA as [pʰ]. Indonesian p is unaspirated (IPA: [p]) - there is no puff of air - so the Indonesian p in pasar or sepuluh is not pronounced with the same amount of aspiration as the English initial p.

    This makes Indonesian p sound a little like English b, because English does not have unaspirated consonants at the beginning of words. However, the sound is really closer to the sound in words like "spin" or "spout" - if you put your hand back up by your mouth and say those words, you'll notice there isn't so much of a puff of air. So don't pronounce Indonesian p like English b; pronounce it as an unaspirated p - a p without a puff of air - like in sPort or sPill.

    You were right.^^ In Indonesian, you just need to read the words by how the words written. So if it's "p" you need to pronounce it as "p". Indonesian language almost never has different way to read and to write. I'm Indonesian native, so if you have any other question don't be hesitate to ask me.^^

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