Phonetics

44 Sounds in English Phonetics

There are 44 sounds in English Phonetics that are necessary to grasp. these include consonants and vowel sounds.

44 Sounds in English Phonetics

The English (British) pronunciation system has 44 sounds, which are divided into 24 consonants and 20 vowels, including 8 diphthongs. The following table lists selected English sounds and their corresponding English transcription characters, as well as examples of words in which they are pronounced.

Sounds in English Phonetics Table:

Consonants

[  f  ]
five
[  d  ]
do
[  v  ]
very
[  k  ]
key
[  θ  ]
thick
[  g  ]
gas
[  ð  ]
this
[    ]
chin
[  s  ]
so
[    ]
Jim
[  z  ]
zoo
[  m  ]
mother
[  ʃ  ]
ship
[  n  ]
no
[  ʒ  ]
pleasure
[  ŋ  ]
long
[  h  ]
horse
[  l  ]
less
[  p  ]
park
[  r  ]
river
[  b  ]
book
[  j  ]
yellow
[  t  ]
tea
[  w  ]
white

Vowel monophthongs

[  i:  ]
eat
[  ə  ]
paper
[  i  ]
it
[  ʌ  ]
cup
[  e  ]
pen
[  ʊ  ]
cook
[  æ  ]
bad
[  u:  ]
school
[  a:  ]
art
[  ɜ:  ]
girl
[  ɒ  ]
box
[  ɔ:  ]
all

Vowel diphthongs

[  ai  ]
like
[    ]
air
[    ]
house
[  ʊə  ]
poor
[  ɔi  ]
boy
[  əʊ  ]
home
[  ei  ]
lake
[    ]
ear

Consonant sounds of English

When pronouncing consonant sounds, the air on its way meets various obstacles formed by the active organs of speech: tongue, lips, teeth, and alveoli

Explosive

If the organs of speech close up so that they completely block the passage for air, then we pronounce the occlusive consonant. Such consonants are also called explosive sounds since a small explosion is heard when the speech organs are opened.

[  p  ] , [  b  ] , [  t  ] , [  d  ] , [  k  ] , [  g  ]

Nasal

If air passes out through the nasal cavity, then such occlusive sounds are called nasal sounds.

[  n  ] , [  m  ] , [  ŋ  ]

Slit consonant

If the organs of speech do not close completely but leave a narrow passage – a gasp for air, then we pronounce a slit consonant.

[  θ  ] , [  ð  ] , [  ʃ  ] , [  ʒ  ] , [  s  ] , [  z  ] , [  h  ] , [  f  ] , [  v  ] , [  w  ] , [  r  ] , [  j  ] , [  l  ]

Slotted sounds

Among the consonants, there are slotted sounds. They are called so because the opening of the barrier occurs slowly; the complete obstruction passes into the gap.

[  tʃ  ] , [  dʒ  ]

Bilabial

An obstruction in the path of exhaled air can be formed by various organs of speech. If the lower lip approaches the upper lip, labial-labial consonants appear.

[  p  ] , [  b  ] , [  m  ] , [  w  ]

Labiodental 

If the lower lip touches the upper teeth, then such consonants are called labiodental.

[  F  ] , [  v  ]

Interdental

If the tip of the tongue is between the lower and upper front teeth, an interdental consonant is pronounced. There are no such sounds in Russian.

[  θ  ], [  ð  ]

Unvoiced Consonants

According to the work of the vocal cords, unvoiced and voiced consonants are distinguished. When pronouncing unvoiced consonants, the glottis is opened and the exhaled air passes through the larynx silently.

[  k  ] , [  p  ] , [  s  ] , [  t  ] , [  f  ] , [  h  ] , [  tʃ  ] , [  ʃ  ] , [  θ  ]

Voiced Consonants

With voiced consonants, the vocal cords are drawn together and tense. The exhaled air causes them to vibrate, resulting in a voiced consonant sound.

[  b  ] , [  v  ] , [  g  ] , [  d  ] , [  z  ] , [  l  ] , [  m  ] , [  n  ] , [  r  ] , [  ʒ  ] , [  dʒ  ] , [  ð  ]

English vowel sounds

Depending on the position of the language, vowel sounds are classified into:

Front vowels

Back vowels

Mixed vowels

Front vowels

[ i: ɪ, e, æ ], when pronouncing which the body of the tongue is moved forward, the tip of the tongue rests on the lower teeth.

Back vowels

 [ ɔ, ɔ: u: u, ᴧ ] – the body of the tongue is pulled back, the tip of the tongue moves away from the lower teeth.

Mixed vowels

[ ə: ə ] – the tongue is evenly raised, and the entire back of the tongue lies as flat as possible.

Pronounced with rounded lips

Among the vowels of the back row, labialized pronounced with rounded lips are distinguished :[ ɔ ], [ ɔ: ], [ u: ], [ u ] and the first elements of diphthongs [ uə ], [ ou ], [ ɔɪ ]

Pronounced with stretched lips

Vowels: [ i: ], [ ɪ ], [ e ], [ eɪ ], [ ɪə ]pronounced with stretched lips

Pronounced with a neutral position

the vowels:[ ʌ ], [ æ ], [ ɑ ], [ ə: ], [ ə ], as well as the first elements of diphthongs [ aɪ ], [ au ], [ ɛə ] the lips are in a neutral position.

 Degree of tongue lift

According to the degree of tongue lift in the oral cavity, monophthongs are divided into high, medium, and low

For high vowels [ i: ], [ u: ], [ ɪ ], [ u ], still called closed, and the first elements of diphthongs [ ɪə ], [ uə ] the bulk of the tongue rises high in the mouth

When pronouncing middle vowels: [ e ], [ ə: ], [ ə ], [ ɔ: ] and the first elements of diphthongs [ eɪ ], [ ou ], [ ɛə ] the bulk of the tongue is located in the middle of the oral cavity, the middle and back of the tongue are evenly raised

Low vowels (open): [ ʌ ], [ æ ], [ ɑ: ], [ ɔ ] and the first elements of diphthongs [ ɔɪ ], [ aɪ ], [ au ] pronounced with a low position of the tongue in the oral cavity

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