A consonant is a sound made by partially or completely blocking air in the mouth with the teeth, tongue, or lips. There are 24 consonants to learn in English.
We put consonants in categories based on their place of articulation (where parts of the mouth touch each other) and manner of articulation (how air passes through the mouth when the sound is made). These help us put consonants in categories.
PLACE OF ARTICULATION
- Bilabial (Lips) – made using both lips
- Labiodental (Lips-Teeth) - made with your upper front teeth touching your lower lip
- Alveolar (Tongue-Teeth) – made with the tip of your tongue touching your alveolar ridge (the hard part of the roof of your mouth behind your teeth)
- Palatal (Tongue-Palate) - made with the middle of your tongue touching your hard palate (the hard, bony place in the middle of the roof of your mouth)
- Velar (Tongue-Soft Palate) –
- made with the back of your tongue touching your velum (the soft part of the back of the roof of your mouth)
- Glottal (Throat) - made by blocking air in the vocal tract
MANNER OF ARTICULATION
- Stop – made by completely stopping the flow of air in your mouth, then suddenly releasing the air
- Fricative – made by partially stopping the flow of air in your mouth but allowing some air to escape
- Affricate – made by combining a stop consonant with a fricative consonant in the same part of the mouth
- Nasal - made with air flowing out through your nose, but not through your mouth
- Glide - pronounced like a vowel sound, but occurs at a syllable boundary next to a vowel
- Liquid - made with the tongue near a specific place in the mouth, changing but not blocking the flow of air.
In English, many consonants combine to form consonant clusters. A consonant cluster happens when two or more consonants pronounced together in a syllable, without being separated by a vowel.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.