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Introducción a la fonética y fonología inglesa

Autor: Laura Jorge
6,40/10 (5 opiniones) |12004 alumnos|Fecha publicación: 16/03/2006
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Capítulo 4:

 The english consonants

1. Description of English consonants

 Place of articulation: where in the mouth the air stream is obstructed

Manner of articulation: the way in which the air srteam is obstructed

Voicing whether there´s vibration of the vocal cord

Breathe force- the degree of breath and muscular efford involved in the articulation

2. Place of articulation

Bilabial dental the lips are the primary articulators

Labio the lower lip articulates with the upper teeth

Dental the teeth articulates with the tongue tip and rims

Alveolar the blade or tip of the tongue articulate with the alveolar ridge

Post alveolar the tip or rims of the tongue articulates with the alveolar ridge

Palato alveolar the blade, or the tip and blade articulates with the alveolar ridge and at the same time there's a raising of the front of the tongue towards the hard palate

Palatal the front of the tongue articulates with the hard palate

Velar the back of the tongue articulates with the sofá palate

Labio velar the back of the tongue articulates with the soft palate and there's rounding lips

Glottal articulated btw the vocal cords

3. Manner of articulation

Complete closure:

Plosives: a complete closure at some point in the vocal tract, the air pressure builds up and can be released explosively

Affricate a complete closure at some point in the mouth, the air pressure builds up.

However the separation of the organs is slow compared with a plosive, so that the friction is the characteristic of the second element

Nasal a complete closure at some point in the mouth, the soft palate being lowered the air scapes through the nose

Partial closure

Lateral a partial closure is made at some point in the mouth, the air stream being able to escape in one or both sides of the contact. This sound is continuant non fricative and there fore a vowel like



Two organs approach each other so that the air stream passing through them causes then vibration

Narrowing without friction

Frictionless continuant approximants and semivowels: a narrowing is made in the mouth but it is not enough to cause frisction. In bein frictionless continuant they are vowel-like, however they function phonologically as consonants

4. breath-force: fortis and lenis

Voiced English consonant tend to be articulated with a weak degree of breath and muscular effort. Those which are voiceless tend to have a strong degree of breath and muscular effort

5. Distribution of English consonants



Phases: closure phase, holding phase, realize phase, post realize phase.


Initial Closure p t k silently

            b d g  silently

Holding ptk silently

bdg litlle voicing

Release phase : ptk  there's an audible plosion   

bdg weak plosion

Medial position both depend on the context

Final bdg have little voicing ptk are voiceless. The plosion for both is non audible. The difference is that the vowel preceding ptk are shorter than the ones preceding bgd

Fricatives they are consonants with the characteristic that when they are produced the air stream escapes through a small passage and makes a hissing sound. Fricatives are continuant consonants.

Distribution of the fricatives : all can be found in initial mid and final position with the exception of , 3 is found in mid position or in initial in French words.

H adopts the place of articulation of the following  vowel. Phonetically h is a voiceless vowel with the quality of a the voiced vowel that follows it. Phonologically h is a consonant usually used before vowels It can be found in initial and mid position. When it occurs btw voiced sounds it is pronounced with voicing


They are rather complex consonants. They begin as plosives and end as fricatives. The plosive and the fricative must be made with the same articulators: they must be homorganic.

Palato alveolar the blade or the tip and blade of the tongue articulates with the alveolar ridge and there is at the same time a raising of the front of the tongue towards the hard palate.

Nasal distribution m and n can be found in all position, but ng in mid and final position, preceding by g or k

Lateral l

We find it in all positions

Clear word initial, initial clusters, word medial

Dark word final, after a vowel before a consonant As a syllabic consonant

Devoiced when it follows p k at the beginning of a stressed syllable

Alveolar the blade or tip of the tongue articulates with the alveolar ridge

Approximants are an articulation in which the articulators approach each other but do not get sufficiently close to each other to produce a complete consonant

R preceded by p t k is voiceless and slightly fricative

This phoneme only occurs btw vowels.

J w

They are phonetically like vowels because the articulation of j is practically the same as that of a front close vowel such as I but is very short. In the same way w is closely similar to u. phonologically they are like consonants because they appear before vowels

J w are devoiced and slightly fricatives preceded by p t k

Given in class

Plosives: they appear in all positions

Affricates they appear in all positions

Fricatives 3 mid position in English word and indicial in French 

h indicial and mid position nasals

m n in all positions 

ng mid and final position

r mid  and initial

l all positions

w initial mid position

j initial mid position

6. The syllable

In every sentence there is a kind of ondulation of prominence in the intonation. This ondulation may be visualized as a line with peaks. Each sound which constituted a peak of prominence is said to be a syllabic and the word or phase is said to contain as  many syllables as there are peaks of prominence

7. Syllabic consonant there are syllables in which no vowel sound is found. In this case a consonant like l or r or a nasal stands as the center of the syllable. This consonant is called syllabic

Syllabic l

It occurs after another consonant, and the way it is produced depends to some exten on the nature of that consonant.

It happends when

We have a word ending with a consonant + le

We a consonant + al or el

Syllabic n

It is most common after alveolar, plosives or fricatives

T d followed by n . the plosive is nasally released by lowering the soft palate

We do not find it after l t3 d3

Syllabic n is not  so wide spread after non alveolar consonants

After f or v is found

Syllabic r

Is less common in RP and in most cases where it occur there are alternative pronunciation without the syllabic consonant

8. Comparison with Spanish.


V and b are confused, sometimes v replaces b and sometimes the reverse

d and th are confused, sometimes d replaces th and sometimes the reverse

s and z are confused, s is usually used for both

3 and S do not occur in Spanish  and are both replaced by s

d3 and tS are confused, tS being used for both

t is dental in Spanish

l is always clear in Spanish

p t k are not aspirated in Spanish



Weaker muscular efford

Less frecuency

More open syllables

1  consonants at beginning and at the end


Articulated with great muscular effort

More frecuency of consonants

More close syllables (last element is a consonant)

3 consonants at the beginning of a sillable

4 consonant at the end of a syllable

Plosives in Spanish

No aspiration in Spanish. They're called occlusive in Spanish

Between vowels or before /r/


d- fricative

g- fricative

After a nasal sound

b- plosive

d - occlusive alveolar

g- plosive

b: occlusive bilabial

d oclussive dental

g velar

t dental

l clear in all positions

d3 palatall,

ng palatal

Capítulo anterior - The english vowels

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