CHAPTER 5: Consonants Flashcards Preview

SPA 320-H01 INTRO TO PHONETICS > CHAPTER 5: Consonants > Flashcards

Flashcards in CHAPTER 5: Consonants Deck (40)
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Tells where the sound is formed.

Is the sound being formed through:

  • bilabial?
  • labiodental?
  • interdental?
  • alveolar?
  • palatal?
  • palatal-velar?
  • glottal?



Tells how a sound is formed.

Is the sound a:

  • stop?
  • nasal?
  • fricative?
  • affricate?
  • liquid?



Tells whether the vocal folds are vibrating in association with the consonant segment.

If the vocal folds are NOT vibrating, the sound is voiceless.

If the vocal folds ARE vibrating, the sound is voiced.



Example: The initial sounds in the words too and dew.

A type of manner of articulation, specifically a lingua-alveolar articulation.

Can also be known as occlusive, plosive, stop-plosive, plosive consonant, stop consonant and stop.

The tongue tip presses tightly against the alveolar ridge, stopping the egressive airflow momentarily.

Regardless of where it is made, a stop consonant is formed by a complete closure of the vocal tract, so that airflow ceases temporarily and air pressure builds up behind the point of closure.

When the impounded air is released, it produces a short burst of noise called the stop burst.

The phonetic /t/ and /d/ are stop consonants.

Articulatory Summary

  1. Oral cavity is completely closed at some point for a brief interval.
  2. Velopharynx is closed.
  3. Upon release of the stop closure, a burst of noise typically is heard.
  4. The closing and opening movements for stops tend to be quite fast, usually the fastest movements in speech.






The prominant ridge just behind the upper central teeth.



A brief explosion of air that occurs when a stop closure is released and the impounded air escapes.

Stop bursts are usually about 5 to 20 milliseconds in duration.



Also known as tap and one-tap trill.

A modified stop sound in which a rapid stroking or flapping motion of the tongue tip contacts the alveolar ridge very briefly.

Words such as city, ladder, latter, butter, writer, rider, patty and laddy




  • sue
  • zoo 
  • leaf
  • leave
  • teeth
  • teethe
  • bus
  • buzz
  • rush
  • rouge

A sound that is produced with a narrow constriction through which air escapes with a continuous noise.

Produced by bringing the tongue tip to the alveolar ridge but not pressing tightly against it.

Because the closure is incomplete, air escapes with a hissing noise through a narrow central groove in the tongue.

All fricatives are made with a continuous noise production called frication.

Articulatory Summary

  1. Articulators form a narrow constriction through which airflow is channeled. Air pressure increases in the chamber behind the constriction.
  2. As the air flows through the narrow opening, a continuous frication noise is generated.
  3. Because effective noise production demands that all of the escaping air be directed through the oral constriction, fricatives are produced with a closed velopharynx.




/m/ /n/ /ŋ/


  • new
  • no
  • knee
  • nay
  • ram
  • ran
  • rang

Articulatory Summary

  1. Oral tract is completely closed, as it is for a stop.
  2. Velum is lowered to allow airstream to pass through nasal passage.
  3. Velopharyngeal port is open.
  4. Even if the oral closure is broken, sound may continue to travel through the nose as long as the velopharynx remains open.




Two types of liquids: lateral sounds and rhotic sounds.

A vowel-like consonant in which voicing energy passes through a vocal tract that is constricted only somewhat more than for vowels.

The shape and location of the constriction is a critical defining property, being distinctive for a given type of liquid.

Articulatory Summary

  1. Sound energy from the vocal folds is directed through a distinctively shaped oral passage, one that can be held indefinitely for sustained production of the sound, if required.
  2. Velopharynx is almost always closed.
  3. Oral passageway is narrower than that for vowels but wider than that for stops, fricatives, and nasals.



A type of liquid sound.


  • Lou
  • Lee
  • law
  • low

The tongue tip makes a midline, or central, closure w/ the alveolar ridge.

An opening is maintained at the sides of the tongue.

Sound energy generated in the larynx radiates around the sides of the tongue (laterally).



A type of liquid sound.


  • rue
  • ray
  • raw

The most common ways of producing the rhotic, or r, sound are to:

(1) Hold the tongue tip so it is curled back slightly and not quite touching the alveolar ridge or the adjoining palatal area.

(2) Bunch the tongue in the palatal area of the mouth.




Also known as semivowels.

In English, glide sounds are made at TWO places:

  1. lingua-palatal
  2. labio-lingua-velar

1.) Lingua-palatal glide phonetic symbol = /j/

Examples: you, yes, and yawn.

2.) Labio-lingua-velar glide is phonetic symbol = voiced /w/, voiceless /ʍ/

Examples of /w/:

  • woo
  • we
  • one

Examples of /ʍ/: 

  • why
  • which
  • when

Articulatory Summary

  1. The constricted state for the glide is narrower than that for a vowel but wider than that for stops and fricatives.
  2. Articulators make a gradual gliding motion from the constricted segment to the more open configuration for the following vowel.
  3. Velopharynx is generally closed.
  4. The sound energy from the vocal folds passes through the mouth (similar to that for vowels).




  • church
  • judge

Articulatory Summary

  1. A combination of a stop closure and a fricative segment, with the frication noise closely following the stop portion.
  2. Made w/ complete closure of the velopharynx.
  3. Air pressure built up during the stop phase is released as a burst of noise, similar in duration to that for fricative sounds.



Sounds formed at the bilabial place of articulation are the:

  • voiced and voiceless stops /b/ and /p/
  • the nasal /m/
  • the voiced and voiceless glides /w/ and /ʍ/

The sounds /w/ and /ʍ/ are described as having two places of articulation because they are produced with the rounding of the lips and with tongue in a high-back (/u/-like) position.


/f/ /v/

Manner of Articulation: fricative

Place of Articulation: labiodental

Voiceless: /f/

Voiced: /v/

*The only fricatives that are made as ladiodental sounds.*

Basic articulation involves a constriction between the lower lip and the upper teeth (incisors).

Fricative energy is weak compared to that for /s/ and /z/.

Because the lower lip is attached to the jaw, the constricting movement of lower lip to upper teeth often is assisted by jaw movement.

The lower lip movement for the labiodental constriction is somewhat like that for bilabial closure.

The velopharynx is closed (as it is for all consonants) except the nasals.


/θ/ /ð/

Manner of Articulation: fricative

Place of Articulation: dental or interdental

Voiceless: /θ/

Voiced: /ð/

*Only fricatives that are formed at the dental location.*

The articulation takes two major forms:

  1. Interdental
  2. Dental

1.) Interdental articulation = tongue tip is protruded slightly between the front teeth (incisors), so that a narrow constriction is formed between the tongue and the cutting edge of the teeth.

2.) Dental articulation = tongue tip contacts the back of the front teeth, so that the constriction is between the tongue and the inside surface of the teeth.

The noise energy is weak.

In many speakers, the tip of the tongue is visible during production.

Although the jaw often closes somewhat to aid formation of the constriction, it cannot close completely, or there would not be adequate interdental opening for the tongue tip.

These sounds tend to be made with a dental, rather then interdental, constriction in rapid speech.


/t/ /d/

Manner of Articulation: stop

Place of Articulation: lingua-alveolar

Voiceless: /t/

Voiced: /d/

There is a similarity in articulation with these two sounds: they are both stops and require the development of air pressure behind the point of oral closure.

Velopharynx is closed.

Jaw often closes partially to aid the lingual contact against the alveolar ridge.

Site of lingual contact is nearly identical for /d/ and /t/, but /t/ may have a firmer contact and a more rapid release, both of which are related to the fact that /t/ has a greater air pressure than /d/. In addition, /t/ tends to have a longer duration of closure than /d/.

The exact position and shape of the tongue for articulation varies with phonetic context.


/s/ /z/

Manner of Articulation: fricative

Place of Articulation: lingua-alveolar

Voiceless: /s/

Voiced: /z/

The velopharynx is closed to allow air pressure to build up in the mouth.

The jaw usually assumes a fairly closed position.

Are sometimes called groove fricatives, because a midline groove is formed in the tongue as a narrow passageway for escaping air.

The lingual articulation varies somewhat with phonetic context and with speaker. 



Manner of Articulation: lateral

Place of Articulation: lingua-alveolar

Voiced: /l/

The tongue tip makes contact with the alveolar ridge, and the dorsum of the tongue assumes a position similar to that for vowel /o/ (low). The contact is midline only so the sound energy radiates through the sides of the mouth, around the midline closure.

The /l/ may be described as having an /o/-like tongue body and dorsum but a midline contact of the tip.

Alveolar contact is not a necessary feature of the sound, particularly in a word-final position, /l/ may be produced without such contact.



Manner of Articulation: nasal

Place of Articulation: lingua-alveolar

Voiced: /n/

The sound /n/ (new) is made with a lingua-alveolar contact like that sound for /t/ and /d/, but with the velopharynx open. 

Sound energy from the larynx radiates outward through the nasal cavity.

Articulatory (allophonic) modifications of the oral closure are similar to those for /t/ and /d/.

Ex. /n/ is dentalized (made with tongue contact against the upper teeth rather than the alveolar ridge) in words like ninth, where it is followed by a dental fricative.

Correct production of /n/ requires that the velopharynx be open during the time of lingua-alveolar closure.

Timing of the velopharyngeal and oral articulations is critical for production of /n/ in running speech.


/ʃ/ /ʒ/

Manner of Articulation: fricative

Place of Articulation: lingua-palatal

Voiceless: /ʃ/

Voiced: /ʒ/

The sounds /ʃ/ (shoe) and /ʒ/ (rouge) are produced by elevating the tip and blade of the tongue toward the palate (hence, palatal).

Fricative noise is generated as air passes through the channel between tongue and palate.

The noise is quite intense, similar in total energy to that for /s/ and /z/. 

Although /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ can be produced with a variety of lip positions, there is a general tendancy for speakers to round the lips for these sounds, especially in isolated production.


/ /ʤ/

Manner of Articulation: affricative

Place of Articulation: lingua-palatal

Voiceless: /ʧ/

Voiced: /ʤ/

/ʤ/ is ONE SOUND.

/ʧ/ is ONE SOUND.

/ʧ/ (church) and /ʤ/ (judge, gin, fridge) are produced with an articulation similar to that for the palatal fricatives /ʃ/ and /ʒ/. The major difference is in the manner of production.

The affricates are formed by first stopping the flow of air by contacting the tip (and perhaps blade) of the tongue against the palate. Then the stop is released gradually into an immediately following fricative. 

/ʧ/ and /ʤ/ are cognates but they differ by only one production feature: voicing.



Manner of Articulation: rhotic

Place of Articulation: palatal

Voiced: /r/

Rhotics are a family of sounds usually represented by the letter r, as in the word raw.

Rhotics and laterals have some properties in common:

  • They are sonorants.
  • Have similar acoustic structure.
  • They combine with other consonants to form a relatively large number of clusters.

Ex. /l/: blow, plough, fly, slow, clown, glide.

Ex. /r/: bride, prod, fry, thrive, dry, try, shriek, clown, grit.

There is also a degree of articulatory similarities between them, which is sometimes used to clinical advantage for children who misarticulate one of these sounds.

Ex. For a child who has trouble with /r/, the clinician might ask the child to produce the /l/ sound but to lower the jaw slowly until the position of the /r/ is reached.

The articulation of /r/ falls into two classes:

  1. retroflex
  2. bunched

1.) Retroflex = "turning or turned back." The tongue tip does not really "turn backward," but the tongue body assumes a mid-central position, and the lips are often rounded. No other English sound has this type of articulation.

2.) Bunched = produced with an elevation of the blade toward the palate but with the tip turned down. The position of the tongue body appears to very with vowel context, and the lips often are rounded.




Manner of Articulation: glide

Place of Articulation: lingua-palatal

Voiced: /j/

Sometimes called a semivowel.

/j/ differs from vowels in that it cannot be used as a syllable nucleus.

The high-front tongue position closely resembles that for vowel /i/ (he). The major difference is that the constriction between tongue and palate is more severe for /j/, so that it is described as a consonant articulation.

Jaw position is relatively closed (elevated).

Glide /j/ in English ALWAYS PRECEDES a vowel.

Articulation takes the form of a tongue movement from palatal constriction (high-front body tongue) to the tongue position for the following vowel. 


/k/ /g/ /ŋ/ /w/ /ʍ/

Manner of Articulation: stop, glide

Place of Articulation: velar, labio-velar

Voiced: /g/ /ŋ/ /w/ 

Voiceless: /k/ /ʍ/

The velar stops are made by elevating the dorsum (or dorsal) until it contacts the roof of the mouth.

When /k/ and /g/ are produced in the context of a front vowel (like /i/ key, or /æ/ cat) the articulation is made FRONTALLY.

When sounds are produced in the context of a back vowel (like /u/ coo, or /ɑ/ calm), the articulation is made near farther BACK near the velum.

Jaw position = variable, depending on the vowel context.

Jaw motion DOES NOT ASSIST the tongue articulation for velars.

Jaw motion is less helpful in making a velar contact than it is for frontal contacts.

Velar stops are less stop-like than the bilabial and alveolar stops.

Velars tend to generate more noise energy; the noise burst for /k/ and /g/ is longer than  the other stops.

The nasal /ŋ/ has an articulation like /k/ and /g/ except the velopharynx is OPEN.

/w/ and /ʍ/ are produced with a rounding of the lips and an arching of the tongue in the area of the velum.

/ʍ/ is rarely used in most American dialects.


/h/ /ʔ/

Manner of Articulation: fricative

Place of Articulation: glottal 

Voiceless: /h/ /ʔ/

Formed as air passes through a slit between the vocal folds and into the upper airway, creating a turbulence noise.

/h/ DOES NOT REQUIRE a supralaryngeal constriction for its formation.

The tongue, jaw, and lips are free to assume any positions except those that close off the oral cavity.

/h/ is typically voiceless, some can hear a voiced allophone in words like Ohio. Transcribed as /ɦ/.

/ʔ/ is a stop formed by a brief closure at the folds.

/ʔ/ is not a phoneme in English but occurs frequently in the speech of many people.

/ʔ/ has allophonic and junctural functions.

Ex. Anna Adams. The /ʔ/ seperates the final vowel in Anna from the initial vowel in Adams. Transcribed as: [ænəʔædəmz]



A speech sound characterized by an intense frication noise, such as that heard for /s/ (see) and /ʃ/ (she).

Sibilants and stridents are similar except that some phonecians classify the nonsilibants /f/ (five) and /v/ (vine) as stridents.



A sound made with a complete or narrow constriction at some point in the vocal tract.

Obstruents include:

  • Stop-Plosives
  • Fricatives
  • Affricatives

Ex. /ʧ/ /ʤ/