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I have no idea, for example, of what the difference in pronounciation between 唷 when pronounced with the first tone and 优. If there's no difference, why are they written differently in pinyin?

  • kind of short vowel and long vowel – Shaw Jan 30 at 0:06
4

There is a difference.

  • 唷 (Toneless IPA: /jɔ/) rhymes with 波. The rhyme is the open-mid back rounded vowel, and is the ough in American English thought.

  • 優 (/joʊ̯/) rhymes with 秋. The rhyme is the diphthong oʊ̯, and almost the same as ow in American English low.

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    Thanks mate, that's a very good explanation. – Step Start Jan 30 at 3:15
  • In some topolectical pinyin you will see "yo" written "yuo," (think: guo/luo/tuo, etc.) to mark the /o/ sound (注: ㄛ). Maybe that'll help wrap your mind around it. – user3306356 Jan 30 at 5:22
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唷 is an exclamation, commonly accompanied by !!!!. This means a rising, stretched out tone.

It's like "high" and "Hi!!!"

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    Not the Dv'er, but I think you should rephrase this a bit. When you say It's like "high" and "Hi!!!", you're implying that the difference between 唷 and 優 is like the difference between "high" and "hi!!!", which is not the case. "Hi!!!" sounds exactly the same as "High!!!", whereas no amount of mood flavouring or excitement can turn 優!!! into 唷!!! - they simply don't rhyme. – dROOOze Jan 30 at 2:55

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