Consonant

From Academic Kids

See also consonance in music.
Places of articulation
Labial
Bilabial
Labiodental
Linguolabial
Labial-velar
Coronal
Interdental
Dental
Retroflex
Alveolar
Postalveolar
Alveolo-palatal
Dorsal
Palatal
Labial-palatal
Velar
Uvular
Pharyngeal
Epiglottal
Glottal
Apical
Laminal
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Manners of articulation
Nasal
Plosive
Fricative
Affricate
Lateral
Approximant
Semivowel
Liquid
Flap/Tap
Trill
Ejective
Implosive
Click
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A consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture sufficient to cause audible turbulence, at one or more points along the vocal tract. The word consonant comes from Latin meaning "sounding with" or "sounding together", the idea being that consonants don't sound on their own, but only occur with a nearby vowel, which is the case in Latin. This conception of consonants, however, does not reflect the modern linguistic understanding which defines consonants in terms of vocal tract constrictions.

There are a group of consonants called sonorants that sometimes act as vowels, occupying the peak of a syllable, and sometimes act as consonants. For example, in English, the sound [m] in "mud" is a consonant, but in "prism", it occupies an entire syllable, as a vowel would.

The word consonant is also used to refer to letters of an alphabet that denote a consonant sound. Consonant letters in the English alphabet are B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Z, and sometimes Y — the letter Y stands for the consonant [j] in "yoke" but for the vowel in "myth", for example.

Since the number of consonants in the world's languages is much greater than the number of consonant letters in most alphabets, linguists have devised systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to assign a unique symbol to each possible consonant. In fact, the Latin alphabet, which is used to write English, has fewer consonant letters than English has consonant sounds, so some letters represent more than one consonant, and digraphs like "sh" and "th" are used to represent some sounds. Many speakers aren't even aware that the "th" sound in "this" is a different sound from the "th" sound in "thing" (in IPA they're [ð] and [θ], respectively).

Each consonant can be distinguished by several features:

All English consonants can be classified by a combination of these, such as "voiceless alveolar stop consonant" [t]. In this case, the airstream mechanism is omitted.

Some pairs of consonants like p::b, t::d are sometimes called fortis and lenis.

The following tables list all the consonants listed by the IPA. The first table contains consonants articulated in the front part of the mouth, and the second table contains consonants articulated in the back part of the mouth. The places of articulation are listed on top, and the manners of articulation on the left side. Where consonants occur in pairs, the consonant on the left represents a voiceless articulation and the consonant on the right represents a voiced articulation.

See also

Links

es:Consonante eo:Konsonanto fr:Consonne ko:닿소리 id:Konsonan io:Konsonanto he:עיצור nl:Medeklinker ja:子音 no:Konsonant nn:Konsonant pl:Spółgłoska fi:Konsonantti sv:Konsonant wa:Cossoune zh:辅音

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