Description of Consonants
¬ Describe the consonants according to the place of articulation.
Any consonant can be described by three ways.
1. According to the position of glottis they are considered whether they are voiced or voiceless.
2. According to the stricture involved in articulation. Plosive, affricate, nasal, fricative, etc. are labels given to consonants according to their manner of articulation.
3. Consonants can be described according to their places of articulation.
Following are the different places describing passive and active articulator. Generally these names suggest the passive articulator.
Þ Labial means regarding lips. It means while some sounds are spoken tow lips become the important articulators. The initial sounds in the English words pile, bile and mile are bilabial sounds. Even semi vowel /w/ is voiced bilabial sound. /m/, /p/, /t/
Þ Dental suggests teeth. It means lips and teeth are involved in some sounds. Lower lips remain active. The upper front teeth remain passive. There are two sounds /f/ and /v/ as founds in English words ‘fine’ and ‘vine’.
Þ The tip of the tongue touches to the upper front teeth. The tip of the tongue is the active articulator and the upper front tooth is the passive articulator. The initial sounds in the English word thin and then are some example of dental sounds.
Þ The tip of the blade touches to the teeth ridge. The tip of the tongue is the active articulator and the teeth ridge is the passive articulator. The initial sounds in the English words tin, din, near, sin, zip, love are alveolar sounds. /t/, /d/, /n/, /s/, /z/, and /l/
Þ Back to the teeth ridge is hard palate. The tip of the tongue goes towards that part but doesn’t touch to hard palate. This roof is known as post alveolar part. In articulation of some sounds the tip of the tongue is active articulator and the part of the roof of the mouth is the passive articulator. The sound represented by the letter /r/ in English words ‘try’ and ‘dry’ is an example of a post-alveolar sound.
Þ The front of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate. Tip of the tongue and the bland of the tongue are the active articulator and the teeth ridge is the passive articulator.
Þ The front tongue is the active articulator and the hard palate is the passive articulator. The initial sound in the word ‘yes’ is such a sound.
Þ The back tongue moves to soft palate. The back tongue is the active articulator and the soft palate is the passive articulator. The final sound in the words back, bag, bang are some example of velar sounds.
Þ Glottal sounds are produced at the glottis and the two vocal cords are the articulators. The initial sound in the English word ‘hat’ is an example of a glottal sound.
Þ The third way to describe consonant is according to glottis position. It can be described as
(A) Voiced sound:-
Þ When some sounds are produced vibration is felt in vocal cords. The air from the lung is released through vocal cords. These cords are held together. Pressure of the air make them open and close. This makes vibration. Sounds which create vibration while speaking a sound is called as voiced sound. They are (/b/, /d/, /g/, /j/, /dz/, /f/, /z/, /m/, /n/, /w/, /r/, /n/)
(B) Voiceless sounds: -
Þ During articulation of sounds glottis remained open. Vocal cords are wide apart. The air from the lung goes out through wide open glottis. These types of sounds are voiceless sound. They are (/p/, /t/, /k/, /s/ , /f/, /o/, /s/, /s/, /h/,)
Þ Thus the consonant sounds of English can be described using a three term labels.
(a) The state of glottis,
(b) The place of articulation,
(c) The manner of articulation.
Some consonants are described below with three term label:
1) The letter /p/ in the English word spy represents a voiceless bilabial plosives.
2) The letter /d/ in the English word dear represents a voiced alveolar plosives.
3) The letter /k/ in the English word sky represents a voiceless velar plosives.
4) The letter /ch/ in the English word cheap represents a voiceless Palato-alveolar a
5) The letter /m / in the English word mat r represents a voiced bilabial nasal.