Why can't Taiwanese pronounce syllables that end with m, k, p, t

Basically war-a

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the difference between “can” and “can’t” is that T at the end! Maybe, I’m just T-biased…

It’s so dodgy for Taiwanese trying to affect an English accent though. Can’t and the c bomb…

“You can’t” “you cunt” is basically identical if you have loose vowels. So I always tell people to say “you cannot” to avoid getting headbutted.

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Oh yeah, “Toronno.”

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Where in Canada you from?
Near Tronno!
I don’t understand.
*exasperated 多倫多!


Thats probably only for the uk/aussie/nz/irish type english speakers with stronger accents. Rarwly is that a problem with american and canadian accents. Ok well maybe eastern canada with its french influence and hillbilly merica. Nothing would be more fun than a bar night with a welshman, irish, cajun hole digger and a newfie.

Sometimes the pronounciation is due to.culture, other times education. In canada in your really sound.out every ending hard sound, you look like a cunt. Or a cant, your preferrence. In taiwan its the same with strict teachers, ibsessed chinese kmt type folk also hardening the sounds so they sound like Chinese people. Many also think they sound like cunts/cants.

The buddhists seem to have no issues with m at the end.

The hard t an k sounds im still unable to think of something as even if they speak english there is an added uh or some such sound after it. Shituh, fuckuh. Sounds like a rap song, so maybe its still passable as native english level?

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Even for app, they say “appuh”

And sometimes they say A-P-P.

Why can’t you say “app”? There are -p sounds in Holo.

I really detest the dominance of Mandarin.

For a lot of mainlanders, it’s even worse.

Whenever they say “we,” it sounds like “way.”

I believe there are probably a few reasons. The -ptk in Taiwanese are never released. Any release whatsoever, even a tiny little barely noticeable puff of sound, might as well be a vowel-blowing foghorn.

Unreleased [æp̚] and slightly released [æp] are night and day to a Taiwanese ear, and since they can’t distinguish released and unreleased, the distinction is made by adding vowels.

There’s the “JP effect”. Taiwanese has many words that have this tendency to end in vowels via coming through Japanese. HAMMU is one example. A lot of sounds also already have meanings, sometimes negative ones. HÀM for example means to talk a load of BS. If the Taiwanese word for “ham” sounded like “bullshit” in English, we’d probably modify it before import as well.

Then there’s the reality that most young non-fluent Taiwanese speakers can’t actually pronounce those sounds, or even hear them without a lot of practice. They basically only distinguish -n/ng and open vowels as they do in Mandarin (-n and -ng are not even easily or clearly distinguished by Mandarin speakers here).

Finally, not every syllable can end with a stop. Stops only follow certain vowel sounds. For example “duck” doesn’t work because [ə] can only be open or take a glottal stop. No syllables starting with a nasal sound can end in a stop, so “nap” is out, even though “tap” wouldn’t be an issue.

The long and short of it is, if you want a Taiwanese speaker to “use their Taiwanese” to pronounce foreign words, you need to consider the allowable sounds of Taiwanese at the whole syllable level, not at the level of individual phones (like -ptk).

For example, if a Taiwanese speaker pronounces my English name as Mandarin “Ài Dé Huá”, I tell them to try IA̍T-OAT (as in ia̍t chhiú and tò oat), which sounds much closer to how I say it in English.


Thanks for the thorough analysis. I grew up in San Francisco around a lot Cantonese speakers, and when they pronounce English syllables ending in -ptk it really sounds like they’re saying nothing at all. But Americans tend to enunciate much less than Brits anyway, so it doesn’t matter.