Consonants and Vowels
Vowels, you have learned are characterized by a free flow of air.
Consonants: on the other hand, except for the 3 nasals, are produced by stopping or obstructing this flow of air. English consonant can be classified according to several aspects such as voice, point articulation (POA), or manner of articulation (MOA), which will each be explained separately.
Manner of Articulation
English consonant are classified into 6 categories concerning the MOA, which depends on how the breath stream flows. 1) Stops: English has six stops: / p, b, t, d, k, g /
2) Affricates:There are 2 affricates in English: / č, ĵ /, as in chair, jug
3) Fricatives: There are fricatives: / f, v, q, �, s, z, �, �, h /
4) Lateral: There is one lateral only, e.g. / l / as in Let
5) Nasal: There are 3 nasals in English: / m, n, ŋ /
6) Glides: or Semi-vowels. There are 3 glides: / w, r, y /.
Let us examine each English consonant and see its articulator.
1) The lower lip is the articulator of these consonant
/ p, b, m, w, f, v /.
2) The apex, i.e., the tip of the tongue, is the articulator of consonants:
/ q, �, t, d, s, z, l, n, r /.
3) The front of the tongue is the articulator of consonants:
/ č, ĵ, �, �, y /.
4) The dorsum, i.e., the back of the tongue is the articulator of consonants:
/ k, g, ŋ /.
Points of Articulation
English consonants have these points of articulations:
The Apper lip is the POA of / p, b, m, w /. Such sounds are called labials.
The upper teeth is the POA of / f, v /, which are called dentals.
The internal point is the POA of / q, � /, which are called internal.
The alveolus is the POA of / t, d, s, z, l, n, r /, which are called alveolars. The alveolus is also called the alveolar ridge or the gum ridge.
The alveo palatals is the POA of / č, ĵ, �, � /, which are called alveo palatals.
The hard palate is the POA of / y /, which is called a palatal.
The velum. i.e., the soft palate, is the POA of / k, g, ŋ/, which are called velars.
The glottis is the POA of / h /, which is called a glottal.
Notice that neither the uvula nor the pharynx is a POA in English. Therefore, English doesn't have uvula or pharyngeal sounds.