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Difference between "j" and "q" such as Jīn"(金) and "Qīn"(亲)

Chinese Lover
I am having a hard time hearing and pronouncing the difference between "j" and "q" in pinyin. For example, when listening to Google Translate, "Jīn"(金) and "Qīn"(亲) sound the exact same to me; they sound the same on another online pinyin pronouncer tool as well.
Are they supposed to be the same sound?

posted by Josh Broyde
1 Answer
Chinese Lover
Best Answer

They do not same.
Pinyin 'j' sounds j in the English word jar.
As for pinyin 'q' sound, it does not exist in English. Sounds nearly like 'ch'
I think you only need to concentrate on one sound and you will become specialize on it.
- Hsu Linn Lett Naing

To me, the j sounds like it has a d and z sound in it. And the q sounds like it has a t and s sound in it.
- James Watson 

James Watson , J in James. Q sounds as ch in cheese/Rachel.
- Jow Yuzo 

金 Jin (pronounced like the English word "gin", as in the alcohol) 亲 Qin (pronounced like the English word "chin", as in the part of your face)
- Jason Cheong 

the "j" is more like the english "dge" sound like in judge, fudge
the q is like english ch.
yoyo chinese on youtube goes through pinyin and explains mouth and tongue position for each sound.
Alisa Kathleen

q is aspirated, so the pronunciation is strong. j does not aspirate and no effort is required, j and q is just the difference between aspirated or not.
- Helen Zhang

If we were to make up an aspiration sliding scale, "q" sits between "j" and "ch".
Also, the Google translate pronunciation has always sounded too low quality for me to pick up pronunciations well.
- Lisa Gines

They're different sounds. q is aspirated (you can feel a puff of air with your hand in front of your mouth when you pronounce it) whereas j is unaspirated (no puff of air).
Aside from this difference, they're identical.
In American English, think about the pronunciation of "nitrate" (aspirated t) and "night rate" (unaspirated t). If you're unfamiliar with the distinction in this example, let me know and I can send you a recording.
- Trevor Kafka

J in Josh. Q sounds as ch in cheese/Rachel.
- Jow Yuzo

No. Have you heard of Pratchett's "lies to children"? The (useful) phonetic lie to children here (and for all the other such pairs in Mandarin, but it's audible to varying degrees in those pairs) is that the distinction is between voiced (j) and voiceless (q). The underlying thing (which might still be a lie to children of course, what do i know) is that both j and q are voiceless, but j is voiceless *with no aspiration at all* (a rarish animal apparently among the languages of the world), while q is voiceless and (heavily) aspirated (where being aspirated, if not necessarily heavily, is the standard behaviour of voiceless consonants in most languages). Then on top of that it depends on the speaker. With some speakers I can't tell them apart either, especially *between* speakers (that is, one person's q may sound like another's j to me).
- Magdalena Jarczyk

We can learn all of Chinese's alveolar/post-alveolar fricatives and so on, starting with the "s" sound:
s - start with the "s" sound as in "Sus",
z - add some voice to the "s" as in "Zuckerbergian",
c - or add a "t" before the "s" as in "cats"
Next we can bring our tongue a bit further back and do the same again. Keep the mouth rounded for these, like an "o" or with an "er" sound:
sh - start with "sh" as in a very "shirk"
zh - add some voice to make the word "Journey's"
ch - or add a "t" to the "sh" for "church"
Finally, we'll do the same again, but this time don't round the mouth, just keep it open like your saying "eeeeeeee" for the dentist:
x - start with the "sh" in "she"
j - give some voice as in "Jenney's", with a very southern "Jyenney" kind of accent
q - or add the "t" instead and end on "cheese".
Sus Zuckerbergian cats shirk Journey's church cuz she stole Jenney's cheese.
Makes complete sense 😁👍
- Stephen Waldron

Think 金 as the British liquor Gin, think 亲 as the word chin, hope that helps
- David Chang

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