Voiced and Unvoiced.
There is actually a small difference in how long we say the vowels before voiced and unvoiced sounds. Listen to these pairs of words or say them out loud. Which ones have the longer vowels?
Did you notice that the vowels are shorter in "nap", "mat", and "knack"? These are the three unvoiced sounds. However, the unvoiced consonants themselves (p, t, k) are longer than the voiced vowels. So, the difference is not just whether the sounds are voiced or unvoiced, but also how long they last.
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last updated 2/14/10