Any tips for pronouncing "dych chi"?
At the moment, I can only seem to get the right guttural sound I'm hearing on the recording if I have enough spit in the back of my throat to kind of gargle. Is that right? It seems odd. Is there some other trick to pronouncing this?
Best description I've heard for ch: put your tongue in the position it'd be in for a "k" sound, and breath out hard over the roof of your tongue.
This is a sound (one of the many) that English speakers are supposedly genetically incapable of making - although Scots and Irish have no trouble. And all the time we have an initial "ch" in British English! Listen to yourself saying "Hugh", "huge", "human" etc. Then put an "o" or "a" or "u" in front of the hissing noise and you'll find it's coming from further down the throat. Anyway, that's the way I learnt to make the sound in German and I think it's close enough to Welsh. Native Welsh speakers, please correct me!
Unfortunately if you speak American English this won"t help as your initial "h" sound is different - I think you use "hoo" or "yoo" in words like "human".
The 'Hugh' sound produces a 'voiceless velar fricative', which is the same as the 'ch' in German 'Ich'. The sound in Welsh is further back, like a gargle, and is called a 'voiceless uvular fricative'. It's the harsher-sounding 'ch' in German 'Dach'.
German uses both types of 'ch' (e.g., after 'a', 'o' and 'u' the uvular one is used as you say), but Welsh only uses the uvular one, even after 'e' and 'i'. Unfortunately it's the slightly trickier one to pull off for an English speaker.
Sometimes it is nice to have German as a native language.
You are right, but in my experience it's even more difficult, because in some cases if you are not used to hearing a distinction between similar sounds (because your language doesn't use it), then you don't even hear the difference.
I was trying to teach a Latvian friend, who speaks quite decent German, to say the uvular ch, because I noticed that he just used the velar everywhere. And I tried to get him to copy me, but he just didn't hear a difference.
So I would suggest to try to train your hearing in order to be able to know where you're supposed to get to. It might help. Look for different examples of native speakers, not just our lovely... what was her name, Gwynedd? I'm sure Youtube can help you out as well.
I think you're right, you just have to train yourself into hearing the differences - and the only real way to learn to make foreign sounds (I mean foreign to whatever your native language is) is to listen to native speakers, something that's a lot easier these days with internet resources. Above all, avoid the people who, when you ask them, how do you say X or Y or whatever, reply, Oh, you English, (or German or - substitute your native language here) can't say that - whatever sound, name or word etc. (Or is this only said to English speakers, because there seems to be a general belief that no English speaker can speak another language?)
I don't think I've ever heard "you as a German can't say that", I've only ever heard "noone can learn our language", and, dear Finns, that's bs, I know people from all over the world who speak great Finnish >.<
Another thing with foreign sounds is that there is a psychological border as well, I think. Have you ever tried to make a sound or pronounce a word and gotten it surprisingly right, but then thought "oh God, that sounded so weird coming out of my mouth!" ? That's another thing everone has to overcome at some point to improve their pronounciation. You have to somehow dare to not sound like yourself anymore. At least that's what's it like for me sometimes.
OK. Another way that might help - say huh! huh! several times then repeat, dropping the "h". Play around with the sound, shifting from the throat to the front of the mouth. Preferably when alone, though, otherwise people take you for a loony!
CH in Welsh is a lot like (as far as I can tell!) the CH sound found in German. I like to think of it as a sort of aspirated h. Don't worry if your finding it hard right now - all new sounds come with practice! :)
It is also the same as the 'ch' in the Scottish word 'Loch' and very similar in the sound for 'j' in Spanish
As a follow up question, should I be enunciating both of the ch's here? Unless I try very hard to stick a breath in the middle they tend to merge together when I speak, so that this becomes something like /dychi/. I figured I was doing it wrong, but I just learned that "yng-nghyfraith" should be merged to /yng-HYF-raith/, so now I wonder... (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20157787)
PS. I think most American accents do have the same "initial ch" as Deyan161 describes for British English. At least, my Midwestern "hue" is my guide to the German "front ch" of Ich, nicht and so on (which gives me more trouble than the "back ch" of Buch, doch and so on). Saying 'yuge' for huge and the like is a stereotypical NooYawkism.
No, no need to say them both - sentences like 'Beth ydy enw eich chwaer chi?' would be even worse if a pause was required after 'eich'. In ordinary conversation word endings and unstressed vowels all fall off as well, so 'Beth ydy eich enw chi?' ends up as 'Be' 'dy 'ch enw chi?'.
PS Isn't 'Buch' actually a front 'ch'? (I'll try and stop writing about German here now...)
Very interesting, thanks. I have been pronouncing Buch with a "front ch" for years, and it does sound better with a "back ch"! Interesting how it naturally changes the quality of the vowel slightly - really helps differentiate "u" and "ü" actually.