Phonetics

Description of Consonant sounds with examples and details

Description of Consonant sounds

Description of Consonant sounds is very important to understand as it is the essence of the English language to learn. in this article, we will not only provide the Description of Consonant sounds but also elaborate these with examples as well.

1- Sounds [p, b, k, g, f, v, m]

The English consonants [  p  ] , [  b  ] , [  k  ] , [  g  ] , [  f  ] , [  v  ] , [  m  ] are called stopping, because when they are pronounced, the organs of speech close and then quickly open

English voiceless consonants [  p  ], [  k  ], [  f  ] at the end of words are pronounced energetically. Voiced consonants [  b  ], [  g  ], [  v  ] at the end of words and before voiceless consonants are not stunned.

Compare:

[  p  ] stump –  [  p  ] pen – pen
[  b  ] box –  [  b  ] box – box
[  k  ] wedge –  [  k  ] clean – clean
[  g  ] gusli –  [  g  ] goose – goose
[  f  ] wagon –  [  f  ] football – football
[  in  ] message –  [  v  ] vest – vest
[  m  ] mine –  [  m  ] miss – miss

In writing, the sounds [  p  ] , [  b  ] , [  k  ] , [  g  ] , [  f  ] , [  v  ] , [  m  ] are respectively designated by letters: Pp [  pi:  ], Bb [  bi:  ], Kk [  kei  ] , Gg [  dʒi:  ], Ff [  ef  ], Vv [  vi: ], Mm [  em  ].

Combination of letters ph also read as [  f  ] : photo The [  `foutou  ].

2- Sounds [n, l, t, d]

When pronouncing the alveolar occlusive consonants [  n  ], [  l  ], [  t  ], [  d  ], the tip of the tongue touches the alveoli (tubercles behind the upper teeth).

These sounds are not softened before vowels or at the end of a word. To avoid an unwanted vowel sound, you do not need to press the tip of the tongue hard and hold it for a long time on the alveoli.

The voiceless consonant [  t  ] at the beginning and end of words is pronounced energetically

Compare:

[  n  ] no –  [  n  ] net – network
[  l  ] forest –  [  l  ] less – less
[  t  ] type –  [  t  ] tip – tip
[  d  ] gave –  [  d  ] dull – dumb

In writing, the sounds [  n  ] , [  l  ] , [  t  ] , [  d  ] are respectively designated by letters: Nn [  en  ], Ll [  el  ], Tt [  ti:  ], Dd [  di:  ]: net , less , tip , dull .

3- Sounds [s, z]

The English consonants [  s  ] , [  z  ] are called slit, because when they are pronounced, a gap is formed between the tip of the tongue and the alveoli through which air passes. When pronouncing the English slit sounds [  s  ] , [  z  ], the tip of the tongue is raised to the alveoli, but does not touch them. The voice travels through a gap between the alveoli and the tip of the tongue.

Compare:

[  s  ] – [  s  ]

centimeter –  centimeter [  `sentimi: tə  ] – centimeter
myself –  some [  sʌm  ] – some
start –  start [  sta: t  ] – start
forest –  less [  les  ] – less

[  h  ] – [  z  ]

zebra –  zebra [  `zebrə  ] – zebra
zil –  zeal [  zi: l  ] – diligence
visit –  visit [  `vizit  ] – visit

In writing, the sounds [  s  ] , [  z  ] are designated:

  • letters s : some, start , z : zebra, zeal
  • the letter combination ss: less
  • letter c before vowels e, i , y : center, city , cycle

4-Sounds [θ, ð]

To understand how these sounds are pronounced, the exercises for the organs of speech below will help.

Stick your tongue between your teeth and blow air. Make sure that the tongue is not tense, and the lips do not touch the edges of the tongue.

Slide your tongue between your teeth and then quickly pull it out. Repeat this exercise several times.

When pronouncing the sounds [  θ  ], [  ð  ], the tongue is spread out and not tense, the tip of the tongue is between the teeth.

The sound [  θ  ] is pronounced deaf, and the sound [  ð  ] with a voice is pronounced as voiced. Remember that the lips should not touch the edges of the tongue. You should quickly remove your tongue by the teeth so as not to interfere with the pronunciation of the subsequent sound.

The sounds [  θ  ], [  ð  ] can be heard in the following English words:

they [  ðei  ] – they thick [  θik  ] – thick
them [  ðem  ] – them thin [  θin  ] – thin
then [  ðen  ] – then myth [  miθ  ] – myth
this [  ðis  ] – this tenth [  tenθ  ] – tenth
bathe [  beið  ] – to swim Timothy [  timəθi  ] – Timothy

In writing, the sounds [  θ  ], [  ð  ] are denoted by the letter combination th .

The sound [  ð  ], as a rule, sounds in the service words:

in the definite article the

in pronouns this , that, they , them

at the end of words before the letter e: bathe

If the letter combination th is the ending for the formation of ordinal numbers, then it is pronounced as [  θ  ], for example tenth

Note the difference in the pronunciation of the sounds [  θ  ] – [  s  ] – [  t  ] :

The sound [  θ  ] is interdental. When pronouncing it, the tip of the tongue is between the teeth.

Sounds [  t  ] , [  s  ] are alveolar. When pronouncing [  t  ], the tip of the tongue touches the alveoli. When pronouncing [  s  ], the tip of the tongue rises to the alveoli.

Compare:

[  feis  ] – [  feiθ  ] face – faith face – faith
[  mis  ] – [  miθ  ] miss – myth loss is a myth
[  tens  ] – [  tenθ  ] tense – tenth tense – tenth
[  tin  ] – [  θin  ] tin – thin tin – thin
[  tru:  ] – [  θru:  ] true – through truthful – through
[  tri:  ] – [  θri:  ] tree – three tree – three
[  sik  ] – [  θik  ] sick – thick sick – fat

The sound [  ð  ] is a voiced interdental consonant. It is pronounced the same as [  θ  ] , only with a voice.

Sounds [  z  ] , [  d  ] are voiced alveolar consonants

Compare:

[  beið  ] – [  beis  ] bathe – base swim – base
[  bri: ð  ] – [  bri: z  ] breathe – breeze breathe – a light breeze
[  si: ð  ] – [  si: z  ] seethe – seize boil – grab
[  ðei  ] – [  dei  ] they – day they are day
[  ðen  ] – [  den  ] then – den then – den

5-Sound [ŋ]

The mouth is quite wide open. Since the back of the tongue is in close contact with the lowered soft palate, the air stream passes through the nasal cavity. To get a clear nasal sound, you should not raise the tip of the tongue to the alveoli.

The sound [  ŋ  ] sounds not only at the end of words but also before the sounds [  k  ], [  g  ], [  d  ]. Be persistent and persistent, and you will definitely learn how to pronounce this tricky sound.

This is how [  ŋ  ] sounds in English words:

song [  sɔŋ  ] – song king [  kiŋ  ] – king
long [  lɔŋ  ] – long morning [  mɔ: niŋ  ] – morning
wrong [  rɔŋ  ] – wrong evening [  i: vniŋ  ] – evening
bank [  bæŋk  ] – bank England [  iŋglənd  ] – England
tank [  tæŋk  ] – tank kingdom [  kiŋdəm  ] – kingdom

The sound [  ŋ  ] has no letter match. It is pronounced before the consonants [  k  ], [ g ] if they are preceded by the sound [  n  ] , which in writing is denoted by the letter n : bank, England .

Note the difference in pronunciation between the sounds [  n  ] and [  ŋ  ].

The differences between the sounds [  n  ] and [  ŋ  ] are in the location of the barrier. When pronouncing the sound [  n  ], the tongue rests on the alveoli. When pronouncing [  ŋ  ], the tongue rests on the base of the lower teeth, the soft palate is lowered and air passes through the nasal cavity.

Compare:

[  sin  ] – [  siŋ  ] sin – sing sin is to sing
[  kin  ] – [  kiŋ  ] kin – king kinship is king
[  win  ] – [  wiŋ  ] win – wing win – wing
[  fæn  ] – [  fæŋ  ] fan – fang cheerleader – fang
[  bæn  ] – [  bæŋ  ] ban – bang forbid – rumble

6-Sound [r]

 When pronouncing the sound [  r  ], the tip of the tongue is raised to the back of the alveoli (tubercles behind the upper teeth). The tongue is motionless and does not vibrate.

The English sound [  r  ] sounds in the following words:

rain [  rein  ] – rain very [  veri  ] – very
river [  rivə  ] – river merry [  meri  ] – merry
reason [  ri: zn  ] – reason berry [  beri  ] – berry
red [  red  ] – red Britain [  britn  ] – Britain
written [  ritn  ] – written street [  stri: t  ] – street

In writing, the sound [  r  ] is indicated only by the letter r . For example: rain , river , very .

7-Sound [j]

When pronouncing [  j  ], the back of the tongue is raised to the hard palate The edges of the tongue are slightly pressed against the upper molars, creating an air passage along the middle of the back of the tongue.

The English sound [  j  ] sounds in the following words:

yet [  jet  ] – still
yell [  jel  ] – shout loudly
yes [  jes  ] – yes
yield [  ji: ld  ] – give fruit

 In writing, the sound [  j  ] is not represented by any single letter.

This sound is indicated by the letter y if it is followed by any vowel letter . For example: yell , yard , yoke .

8-Sound [tʃ] Description of Consonant sounds

When pronouncing the English sound [  tʃ  ], the tip of the tongue touches the alveoli (tubercles behind the front upper teeth).

This sound is pronounced clearly and consistently and does not soften before vowels. A common mistake is the indistinct sound [  tʃ  ] . To overcome this error, the tip of the tongue should be held at the alveoli longer, prolonging the sound [  tʃ  ] .

The English sound [    ] sounds in the following words:

ditch [  ditʃ  ] – ditch chick [  tʃik  ] – chick
fetch [  fetʃ  ] – bring chain [  tʃein  ] – chain
reach [  ri: tʃ  ] – reach bench [  bentʃ  ] – bench
chair [  tʃeə  ] – chair butcher [  bʊtʃə  ] – butcher
cheese [  tʃi: z  ] – cheese picture [  piktʃə  ] – picture
chest [  tʃest  ] – chest teacher [  ti: tʃə  ] – teacher

In writing, the sound [  tʃ  ] is conveyed by letter combinations:

ch : bench , chick , cheese , chain

tch : ditch , butcher

The 4-letter rule : to know which letter combination to choose, you can use the 4-letter rule, which says: the letter h must be the fourth, including the first vowel.

Depending on this, either ch or tch is written . For example:

each , bench , teach , reach , match , scotch , catch

The ture suffix is also pronounced [  tʃə  ]: picture , lecture .

9-Sound [dʒ]

The sound [  dʒ  ] is articulated in the same way as [  tʃ  ] , but pronounced loudly. Both elements of the sound should be pronounced together, without lifting the tip of the tongue from the alveoli.

The English sound [  dʒ  ] sounds in the following words:

gym [  dʒim  ] – gym village [  vilidʒ  ] – village
Jane [  dʒein  ] – Jane cage [  keidʒ  ] – cage
Jill [  dʒil  ] – Jill ledge [  ledʒ  ] – ledge
June [  dʒu: n  ] – June siege [  si: dʒ  ] – siege
danger [  deindʒə  ] – danger page [  peidʒ  ] – page
age [  eidʒ  ] – age engagement [  ingeidʒmənt  ] – engagement

In writing, the sound [  dʒ  ] is transmitted:

letter j : Jill , Jane ‘ , June .

letter g before vowels e , i , y : gem , cage , gym

the exception is the words: get [  get  ], give [  giv  ], gift [  gift  ]

In English, consonants differ in voicing – deafness. Therefore, you should not mix voiced [    ] and voiceless [    ] , as this leads to confusion of words:

[  tʃin  ] – [  dʒin  ] chin – gin chin – gin
[  tʃein  ] – [  dʒein  ] chain – Jane chain – Jane
[  tʃest  ] – [  dʒest  ] chest – jest chest is a joke
[  tʃu:  ] – [  dʒu:  ] chew – Jew chew – Jew
[  ritʃ  ] – [  ridʒ  ] rich – ridge rich – mountain range

10-Sound [h]

The sound [  h  ] occurs only before vowels and sounds like a slight exhalation. The language at the moment of pronouncing [  h  ] assumes a position for the production of a subsequent vowel.

This is how [  h  ] sounds in English words:

he [  hi:  ] – he his [  hiz  ] – his
home [  həʊm  ] – home help [  help  ] – help
hay [  hei  ] – hay whom [  hu: m  ] – to whom
high [  hai  ] – high hard [  ha: d  ] – hard
how [  haʊ  ] – how hotel [  həʊtel  ] – hotel

In writing, the sound [  h  ] is conveyed by the letter h : hot , help , how , home , he , hay , high

11-Sounds [ʃ, ʒ]

When pronouncing [  ʃ  ] , [  ʒ  ], the tip of the tongue is raised to the alveoli, but does not touch them.

The sound [  ʃ  ] is dull, so it is pronounced clearly, especially at the end of words. The sound [  ʒ  ] is voiced.

This is how [  ʃ  ] , [  ʒ  ] sound in English words:

ship [  ʃip  ] – ship finish [  finiʃ  ] – finish
sheep [  ʃi: p  ] – sheep treasure [  treʒə  ] – treasure
shape [  ʃeip  ] – shape measure [  meʒə  ] – measure
show [  ʃəʊ  ] – show pleasure [  pleʒə  ] – pleasure
shy [  ʃai  ] – timid vision [  viʒn  ] – vision

In writing, the sound [  ʃ  ] is conveyed by the letter combination sh : ship , shelf , shut , fish , finish .

The sound [  ʒ  ] has no letter match.

It is pronounced only in suffixes: sure , sion : pleasure , measure , vision .

12-Sound [w]

Try the following exercises before uttering the [  w  ] sound :

Round your lips strongly and protrude forward. Blow air into the resulting circular opening.

Pull your lips out, then quickly spread them apart. Repeat the exercise several times.

When pronouncing the sound [  w  ], the lips are strongly rounded and pushed forward, forming a round slit. Then instantly the tongue and lips move into position for pronouncing the subsequent vowel.

For example: Description of Consonant sounds

wool [  wu: l  ] – wool wheel [  wi: l  ] – wheel
woe [  wəʊ  ] – grief with [  wið  ] – with (preposition)
wait [  weit  ] – wait wet [  wet  ] – wet
well [  wel  ] – good week [  wi: k  ] – week

In writing, the sound [  w  ] is transmitted only by the letter w : wait , week , wet , wheel , woe .

Compare:

[  fi: l  ] – [  wi: l  ] feel – wheel feel – wheel
[  fəʊ  ] – [  wəʊ  ] foe – woe enemy is grief
[  fel  ] – [  wel  ] fell – well fell – good
[  feil  ] – [  weil  ] fail – whale fail – whale
[  fu: l  ] – [  wu: l  ] fool – wool fool – wool
[  wet  ] – [  vet  ] wet – vet raw – veterinarian
[  weil  ] – [  veil  ] wail – veil howl – veil
[  wi: l  ] – [  vi: l  ] wheel – veal wheel – veal
[  west  ] – [  vest  ] west – vest west – vest
[  wein  ] – [  vein  ] wane – vane damage – blade

13-Sound combination [wɜ:] Description of Consonant sounds

When pronouncing the combination of sounds [  wɜ:  ], the tongue should be in the same position as when pronouncing the sound [  ɜ:  ] . However, the lips should not be stretched or strained. They must be left in the position that they assume when pronouncing [  w  ] , ie round slightly and protrude slightly forward.

were [  wɜ:  ] – were worm [  wɜ: m  ] – worm
word [  wɜ: d  ] – word worse [  wɜ: s  ] – worse
work [  wɜ: k  ] – work worth [  wɜ: θ  ] – standing
worker [  wɜ: kə  ] – worker world [  wɜ: ld  ] – world (universe)

Pay attention to the difference in sound combinations [  wɜ:  ] and [  wɔ:  ] :

[  wɜ:  ] – [  wɔ:  ] were – war were – war
[  wɜ: d  ] – [  wɔ: d  ] word – ward word – hospital ward
[  wɜ: m  ] – [  wɔ: m  ] worm – warm worm – warm
[  wɜ: k  ] – [  wɔ: k  ] work – walk work – walk
[  wɜ: kə  ] – [  wɔ: kə  ] worker – walker worker – walker

we hope that after reading the article about the Description of Consonant sounds, you are able to understand the real essence of English consonant sounds which will help you to grasp the concepts relating to it.

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