2 Index Objectives Introduction Vowels vs. Consonants Manner of ArticulationVoiced/VoicelessPlaces of ArticulationConsonant ChartTry Your Luck!Practice ExercisesUseful Links
3 ObjectivesThis module is designed to orientate students about the differences between English consonant and vowel sounds, as well as the differences between consonants in English and Spanish. By the end of the module, students should be able to identify each consonant and its corresponding sound.
4 IntroductionThinking about all the differences between sounds in English and Spanish can be scary to some people. They tend to think that there are major changes in consonant sounds between the two languages, and this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, there are about as many consonants in English as there are in Spanish, and most of them are the same between the two languages.
5 Vowels vs. ConsonantsAs we know, vowels are produced with no obstruction to the flow of air through our mouths; however, consonants are quite different. They do have obstruction, and the type and amount they have will determine their category.
6 Producing a consonant involves making the vocal tract narrower at some location than it usually is. We call this narrowing a constriction. Which consonant you're pronouncing depends on where in the vocal tract the constriction is and how narrow it is. It also depends on a few other things, such as whether the vocal folds are vibrating and whether air is flowing through the nose.
7 We classify consonants along three major dimensions: manner of articulationVoicingplace of articulation
8 Manner of Articulation When we refer to the manner of articulation, we are referring to how the mouth is used to produce the sound. In each of the places of articulation there are a variety of sounds that can be produced. What makes each one different from other sounds at the same place is the way in which it is produced.
9 Voiced/VoicelessSome sounds are voiced, which means that the vocal chords are vibrated when the sound is created. Voiceless sounds are produced without any vibration of the vocal chords. Pronounce bowl and poll, dad and tad, gate and Kate. What's the difference? Simply voicing - whether or not the vocal cords vibrate when the consonant is pronounced.
10 Say the pairs of words again slowly; this time, touch your throat as you say them and notice when it vibrates - you should feel vibration on all the vowels, and on b, d, and g, the voiced consonants. Other voiced consonants: m, n, ng, v, then, z, measure, j, w, y, l, and r.
11 Places of Articulation Stops: [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g], glottal stop - Sounds in which the airstream is stopped completely in the mouth cavity for a brief period (note that in m, n, and ng, the nasal stops, air is stopped in the mouth even though it flows through the nose).
12 Fricatives: [s], [z], [f], [v], th/th [θ]/[ð], sh [š], zh [ž] - Sounds in which the airstream is not totally stopped but is obstructed to a narrow area, causing friction. Pronounce an s or f and notice the friction in the sound.
13 Affricates: ch [č], [ĵ] - combine a stop and a fricative and you get an affricate. Basically, to make one of these you pronounce the stop, then the fricative, so ch = t + sh and j = d + zh.
14 Nasal and Oral Sounds - Sounds pronounced through the nose are nasal (m, n, and ng); those pronounced through the mouth are oral (all other consonants...)
15 Liquids: [l], [r] - Sounds where the airstream is obstructed, but not so much as to either stop it or create friction. Pronounce all or are very slowly and hear the difference between the vowel and the liquid consonants.
16 Glides: y, w - Sounds with little or no obstruction to the airstream in the mouth. Glides and Liquids are the closest things to vowels among the consonants - in fact, in some languages they function almost as vowels.
20 Practice ExercisesIdentify the type of consonant for the bolded/underlined sound in the following words.A. B.1. Thing 1. zany2. Phantasm 2. chomp3. wishing 3. read4. treasure 4. when5. veteran 5. thong6. within 6. yodel7. everything 7. bone8. celebrate 8. lodge9. refrigerator 9. will10. lesion grace
21 Useful LinksHere are some sites on the Internet that can help you with these exercises, as well as those done in class.University of Iowa: A site with an excellent area devoted to vowel and consonant sounds. Click on "launch English library."Easton’s American English Pronunciation: A great site with plenty of information about vowel and consonant pronunciation, as well as some great practice exercises.
22 Tim’s ESL Site: Raritan Valley Community College Phonetic practice page. Fonetiks.org: The online language library.
23 Very Nicely done! Please be sure to try out my other modules on vowel sounds!