THE CONSONANTAL TYPE. PLACE OF ARTICULATION. MANNER OF ARTICULATION.
Producing a consonant involves making the vocal tract narrower at some location than it usually is. We call this narrowing a constriction or stricture. The consonant you're pronouncing depends on where the constriction is in the vocal tract and how narrow itis. It also depends on a few other things, such as whether the vocal cords are vibrating and whether the air is flowing through the nose.
We classify consonants along three major dimensions:
• place of articulation
• manner of articulation
Voicing or phonation is produced when the vocal folds in the larynx vibrate. The vocal folds may be wide opened, so that no sound isproduced from air stricture, or vibrating and making the noise of that vibration. If the vocal folds are wide open, the consonant will be voiceless, whereas if the vocal folds vibrate, it is a voiced sound.
Phonemes in abstract are always voiced or voiceless (/p/ or /b/, /s/ or /z/, etc.) though when we use these sounds in the speech chain the voicing may change somehow. For example, b,d,g (voiced) infinal position have little voicing which also happens in initial position. However, that distinction will only be considered at a phonetic level (and expressed by allophones) and not at a phonemic level.
Voiceless consonants, those in which the vocal folds do not vibrate, will be the following:
p t k f θ s ʃ h tʃ
On the other hand, the list of voiced consonants, i.e., those in which the vocalfolds do vibrate, is this one:
b d g v ð z ʒ dʒ r l m n ŋ j w
The place of articulation dimension specifies where in the vocal tract the constriction is. It indicates the point of contact where the organs in the vocal tract produce the obstruction needed to create the consonantal sound. It is defined by themovement of an active articulator against a passive articulator or two active articulators toward each other.
The manner of articulation dimension is essentially everything else: how narrow the constriction is, whether the air is flowing through the nose, and whether the tongue is dropped down on one side.
For example, for the sound /d/:
• Voicing = voiced. (The vocal folds are vibrating.)
•Place of articulation = alveolar. (The narrowing of the vocal tract involves the tongue tip and the alveolar ridge.)
• Manner of articulation = oral plosive. (The narrowing is complete. The tongue is completely blocking off airflow through the mouth. There is also no airflow through the nose.)
Having examined the main criteria we can use to classify consonants from an articulatory pointof view, we can now briefly describe the consonant phonemes of English. The starting point will be the manner of articulation but, in the description of each phoneme, we must indicate the three parameters (voicing, manner of articulation and place of articulation) that define the consonantal sound.
1. THE ENGLISH PLOSIVES (or Stops)
In terms of their place of articulation they are bilabial,alveolar and velar.
It is a bilabial, voiceless, plosive sound. Being a bilabial stop, /p/ is produced by blocking completely the airstream at the level of the lips and releasing this air with an explosion. It is distributed in initial, medial and final position: “pane, appear, lip”.
It is spelt p: “plane” or pp: “opposite and only exceptionally gh in hiccough.
The letter p issilent when followed by a fricative or a nasal in word-initial position: “psalm, pneumatic”.
It is a bilabial, voiced, plosive sound. It is distributed in all three basic positions; initial, medial and final: “bet, above, cab”.
It is spelt b: “about” or bb: “abbot”.
The letter is silent in final position after m: “limb, crumb, dumb” and in front of t in words of Latin origin:...
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