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Making consonant sounds in English pronunciation

Making consonant sounds

Every consonant sound we make can be described by the positions of the various parts of the mouth involved in articulating the sound. There are five main articulatory parts that must be described for every sound:
  1. The front of the tongue " Where is it? Is it pressed against the upper part of the mouth? Where's the closure? Is it completely closed?
  2. The back of the tongue " Just like the front, Is it pressed against the upper part of the mouth? Against the back of the throat? Where's the closure? Is it completely closed?
  3. The lips " Are they open? Closed? Round?
  4. The velum " This is the movable bit that closes off your nose from your throat. If you look in a mirror and say "Aaaaa", you'll see a little dangling bit (your uvula) hanging from the roof of your mouth. The uvula is attached to the velum. When raised, the velum stops air from escaping out your nose, and when lowered, air can flow freely out your nose.
  5. The vocal folds (also known as the vocal cords) ' In English, they're either vibrating voiced or not. In other languages, there are different ways of using them

If you know these five things about a sound, you can identify it, reproduce it (given practice), and determine the proper IPA symbol for it.

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