Consonant sound

From Teflpedia
IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see

A consonant is a speech sound - not a letter - caused by a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract. Every syllable is understood to also contain a vowel sound but does not have to include a consonant.

Most English dialects have 24 consonants (counting semivowels /j/ and /w/). Many consonants are normally spelled with one letter or digraph, but several of them have an inconsistent spelling. For example /ʃ/ can unambiguously be spelled as "sh", but there are several other spellings such as "ti" in nation or "ce" in ocean.

The following letters or digraphs unambiguously spell consonant phonemes: b, ch, d, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, sh, t, v, w, y, z.

The following phonemes can't be spelled unambiguously:

  • /θ/ as in thank, because "th" can be either /θ/ or /ð/.
  • /ð/ as in then, for the same reason
  • /ŋ/ as in thing, because "ng" can represent /ŋ/ or /ŋg/ (as in "finger")
  • /ʒ/ as in pleasure (however "zh" is sometimes used).

Besides, "s" can represent /s/ as in this or /z/ as in these. Normally "ss", "c"+"e" and "c"+"i" are used to unambiguously represent /s/.

See also[edit]


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