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describing the twenty four consonants
DESCRIBING THE TWENTY-FOUR CONSONANTS

All consonants (with the exception of /w/ and /j/) involve a restriction to the outflow of air, and it is the precise place and manner of this restriction that gives each consonant its unique sound. We can describe the uniqueness of each consonant quite well using these three variables:

  • voice (vibration of vocal cords);
  • place of articulation (where the sound is produced in the vocal tract);
  • manner of articulation (how the sound is produced in the vocal tract.
voiced or unvoiced
VOICED OR UNVOICED

A sound is said to be voiced if it requires the vocal cords to vibrate, and unvoiced if it does not.

place of articulation
PLACE OF ARTICULATION
  • The place in the vocal tract where the physical restriction or block to the air flow takes place is referred to as place of articulation, i.e. where the characteristic component sounds of that consonant are initiated.
manner of articulation
MANNER OF ARTICULATION
  • The nature of the physical restriction to the air flow is referred as manner of articulation, i.e. how the characteristic component sounds of that consonant are initiated.