Is there a regional difference in the vowel pronounciation of Shi, Zhi, Chi? I don't mean the Taiwan pronounciation (under which they would be si, zi, ci, and thus have a different vowel pronounciation), or from erhua in some words.
But, sometimes (most of the time with Cpod) it sounds to me as if the vowel, while obviously very r-like, has a bit of an i type sound in it. Whereas, sometimes (particularly when I know the speaker is northern) it sounds firmly r, with no hint of an i type sound.
Sadly, I couldn't figure out any less clumsy way to state this...
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