“Pai Dosa. Where is this?”
We asked this driving around Ernakulam one night. I asked as well as my husband who’s a native Keralite (raised in Delhi and lived in the US more than 10 years), asked. We were utterly confused when no one understood us. Finally, someone repeated what we said back to us, but it sounded to our ears, and especially to my American ear like “By Dosa.”
I was befuddled to say the least! Not only did the Malayalees we talked to not understand my P sound, but in their making the P sound back to my American ear, it sounded clearly like a B.
|(Click on the photo to see a bigger size.)|
As Indian languages have the alphabets p, ph, b and bh, there are many sounds to distinguish in native tongues. However, English only has two sounds, and we have to assure that they are made clearly so that the native speaker can hear you clearly over the phone. The photo to the right says the office for “The Western Speaker” is next to the petrol pumb instead of pump. This is a clear example of how not hearing the right sound can impact the written English as well. Especially for Malayalees, the mother tongue has a unique letter/sound “imba” ( ).
There are two steps to reduce the MTI (mother tongue influence) of this sound.
First step: To help you perfect these sounds, read and watch the following tips below.
|P – English Pronunciation Tips||B – Enunciation Tips|
||Follow all the rules for B, except:
|To know if you are making the buzz sound, place your hand on your throat. Do you feel the vibration? This vibration should not be made for P.
|Saying the letter “P”||Saying the letter “B”|
|When spelling a word with the letter “B”, we will say the letter as it sounds followed by “ee” – “Bee”.
Example: Spell “Bobby”
Bee- oh- bee- bee- why
|When spelling a word with the letter “P”, we will say the letter as it sounds followed by “ee” – “Pee”.
Example: Spell “Pradhy”
Pee – are – aee- dee- eh – why
Saying “pee” or “pee pee” is a slang for “urine”. Often little kids say this before they have to go to the bathroom.