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The classification of English consonants




Principles of classification of speech sounds

Consonants are the bones of a word and give it its basic shape. So if your vowels are not perfect, you be still understood by the listeners. But if your consonants are imperfect, there may be some misunderstanding.

There are 3 types of consonants classification on the articulatory level:

1. According to the degree of noise

2. According to the manner of articulation

3. According to the place of articulation

Vowels are made with the air stream that meets to closure or narrowing in the mouth, pharyngeal and nasal cavities. That is why there is no noise component characteristic of consonantal sounds. There 4 types of vowels classification on the articulatory level:

1. According to the stability of articulation

2. According to the tongue position

3. According to the lip position

4. According to the character of the vowel end

In the English consonant system there are 24 consonants.

Classification of consonants according to the degree of noise
Noise consonants Sonorants
According to the work of vocal cords According to the force of articulation are made with tone prevailing over noise because of a rather wide air passage
Voiced b, d, g, v, ʤ, ð, Ʒ, z Voiceless p, t, k, f, θ, s, ʃ, ʧ, h Weak (lenis) b, d, g, v, ʤ, ð, Ʒ, z Strong (fortis) p, t, k, f, θ, s, ʃ, ʧ, h [m, n, ŋ, w, l, r, j]
         

The manner of articulation of consonants is determined by the type of obstruction. The obstructions may be complete, incomplete and momentary.

When the obstruction is completethe organs of speech are in contact and the air stream meets a closure in the mouth or nasal cavities as in the production of the English [p, b, t, d, k, g, ʧ, ʤ, m, n, ŋ].

In case of incomplete obstruction the active organ of speech moves towards the point of articulation and the air stream goes through the narrowing between them as in the production of the English [f, v, s, z, θ, ð, ʃ, Ʒ, h, w, l, r, j]

Momentary obstruction are formed in the production of the Russian sonorants [р, р’] when the tip of the tongue taps quickly several times against the teeth ridge.

According to the manner of articulation consonants may be:

Classification of consonants according to the manner of articulation
Noise consonants Sonorants
Occlusive stops (plosives) Constrictive fricatives Occlusive-constrictive (affricates) Occlusive Constrictive Rolled
p, b t, d k, g f, v θ, ð s, z ʃ, Ʒ h     m n ŋ w l r j Russian [р, р’]

The place of articulation is determined by the active organ of speech against the point of articulation. There may be one place of articulation or focus (unicentral consonants), or two places of articulation when active organs of speech contact with two points of articulation (bicentral consonants). For example, the English fricatives [ʃ, Ʒ], and affricates [ʧ, ʤ]



According to the place of articulation consonants may be:





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