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CONSONANTS

Next major topic: Consonant articulation.


Whats a vowel? A speech sound produced with a
(relatively) unimpeded air stream.
Whats a consonant? A speech sound produced with air
stream impeded, constricted, diverted, or obstructed.
As before: Vowels are open-ish, consonants are closed-
ish.
Classification system for vowels:
tongue height, advancement, and lip rounding
Classification system for consonants:
place, manner, and voicing

A. Place (also called place of articulation): Where is the breath
stream impeded, constricted, diverted, or obstructed? For
example:
lips, teeth, alveolar ridge, palate, velum,
(These are the articulatory landmarks that we reviewed earlier. More on place later.)
B. Manner: How is the breath stream impeded, constricted,
diverted, or obstructed? For example:
1. stop or plosive: complete obstruction of air stream
|b|, |d|, |g|, |p|, |l|, |L| |?| (glottal stop, as in uh-oh)
2. fricative: air passed thru a narrow channel, creating
turbulence.
|s|, |j| (as in shoe), |!|, |0| (as in theory) [h],
|z|, || (as in Zsa Zsa), |v|, || (as in this).
3. nasal: air stream redirected through the nasal cavity.
|m|, |n|, |p| (as in sing)

Manner categories (continued)
4. affricate: complete obstruction of air stream followed by
fricative release.
[tj| (as in choke), |d| (as in joke)
5. approximants: consonants that are almost like vowels
[r| |I| |v| |j| (as in yellow)
These are the open-est of the closed-ish sounds breath
stream is fairly unimpeded. But, these sounds pattern like
consonants; i.e., speakers treat them like consonants not
vowels.
a rat or an rat? a lake or an lake ?
a walk or an walk? a yak or an yak ?
So, these are consonants and thats that, even if we cant
supply a neat definition separating vowels from consonants.

Manner categories (continued)
Two Types of Approximants

Liquids Glides (also called semivowels)
|r| |I| |v| |j|

Why are [r|, |I| called liquids and |v|, |j| called glides?
Easy: They just are. If theres a good reason for this I dont
know it. But, youll have to learn it same as everyone else.

6. flap: Like a stop, but closure is very brief
|i| (as in kitty, butter, Betty, later)
There are other manner classes, but the 6 I listed are the
ones needed for English.

C. Voicing
Are the vocal folds vibrating?


Yes No

Voiced Unvoiced/Voiceless

English has many pairs of consonants that are identical
in all other ways except for voicing. Some examples:
|b|-|p|, |d|-|l|, |g|-|L|, |z|-|s|, ||-|j|, |v|-|!|, ||-|0|
These are called voiced-voiceless cognates.
1. Stops in English
Voiced: |b| |d| |g|
Unvoiced: |p| |l| |L| |?| (|?| is a little odd bird later)
Notes on Stop Consonants (Plosives)
a. Dental (rather than alveolar) stops are rather common in some
dialects of Am Eng working class dialects in NY, NJ, Philly,
etc. Symbols: |d| and |l|. The diacritic that indicates a dental
stop is a little dealie that looks like a tooth. |d| and |l| are
allophones of /d/ and /t/ in English. They occur as distinct
phonemes in some languages.
b. Stops involve a build up of pressure behind the occlusion
followed by release. The velum has to be in the up position
for the pressure to build; i.e., the V-P (velopharhyngeal) port
needs to be closed.
What problems might speakers with cleft palate have in
producing stops?
Summary of IPA Consonant Symbols
(excluding the obvious ones b,d,g,p,t,k,l,w,r, etc.)

[0| thin
|| then
|j| yellow (not the sound association typical for the letter j in English)
|j| / |s| shoe (either symbol may be used for this sound; |j| preferred here)
|| / |z| measure (ditto but learn both because youll see both)
|?| uh-oh / button
|lj| / |c| church (symbols interchangeable; |lj| preferred here; learn both)
|d| / |j| judge (ditto |d| preferred here; learn both)
|n| which / whether (for those speakers who distinguish which/witch)
|p| sing
|i| butter
c. Glottal stops occur in a few exclamatory words like
uh-uh (no) or uh-oh (whoops). Theyre more
common that you might think, though. Glottal stops
often serve as separators, as in:

no notion vs. known ocean
|no nojon| vs. |non ?ojon|
353-7200: Phone number with 00 spoken as oh-
oh. A glottal stop will almost always be inserted to
separate the two ohs; e.g.
|o?o|
Glottal stops also appear as an allophone of /t/:

button [b:?n|
kitten [Li?n|
cotton |Lu?n|
smIllcn |smi?n|
Scranton |sLiun?n|
sentence |scn?ns|

d. Aspiration
Voiced stops (in English) are never aspirated.
Voiceless stops are sometimes aspirated and sometimes not.
These voiceless stops will be aspirated:
a. Word-initial, regardless of stress:
tap, cat, Topeka (stop precedes an unstressed vowel), command (ditto)
|l
h
p| |L
h
l| |l
h
opILo| |L
h
omnd|
b. Intervocalic (between 2 vowels) but only when
preceding a stressed vowel.
meticulous, repair, recalcitrant, return
These voiceless stops will be unaspirated:
a. Following /s/
stop, skate, stick, stare, spike
b. Intervocalic, preceding an unstressed vowel
napping, camper, sicken, supper, thirsty
(Note: Sometimes these are unaspirated,
sometimes they are lightly aspirated.)

See Table 5-2 (p. 96) of MacKay for a nice summary
with examples.

Voice Onset Time (VOT)
VOT = Interval between articulatory release
and onset of voicing.
voicing onset
release
|p
h
u| |bu|
voicing onset and
release ~ simultaneous
VOT ~0 ms
VOT ~85 ms
Voice Onset Time (VOT)
voicing onset
release
|p
h
ul| |spul|
Very short delay
between release and
voicing onset (~10 ms)
VOT ~10 ms
VOT ~85 ms
|spul| (unaspirated |p|)
With |s| edited out
pack |p
h
L| capping |L
h
pip|
(aspirated |p|) (lightly aspirated |p|)
/p/ precedes
stressed vowel
(aspirated)
/p/ precedes
unstressed vowel
(unaspirated or
lightly aspirated)
2. Fricatives
Mechanism of sound production is simple: Air is passed
through a narrow channel, creating turbulence. Turbulence
= noise.
When you look at white water on a river or stream you are
looking at turbulence. (You can also hear this turbulence; this is the
noise you hear when white water passes between boulders and whatnot.)
All fricatives involve this turbulence-generating mechanism.
English fricatives:
Voiceless: |!| |0| (theory) |s| |j| (shoe) [h]
Voiced: |v| || (this) |z| || (Zsa Zsa)
All English fricatives except (maybe) [h] form voiced-
voiceless cognates:
|v|-|!| ||-|0| |z|-|s| ||-|j|
For each pair: Same place, same manner, different voicing.
FRICATIVES

WEAK (not very loud) STRONG (comparatively loud)
(Slit Fricatives) ` (Groove Fricatives)
|!| |v| |0| || |h| |s| |z| |j| ||


(constriction shape for (constriction shape
for weak fricatives) for strong fricatives)
Long flat constriction = More circular constriction =
Inefficient noise generator Efficient noise generator
(noise is weak) (noise is strong)
|!|-|v|:
Place = Labiodental (lips-teeth)
Flat constriction (slit fricatives); flat (rather than round or
grooved) constrictions produce a weak noise.
No resonator in front of the constriction; spectrum has a
pretty flat shape (no well-defined resonant peaks)
|!u|:
|vu|:
spectrum during |f| noise (flat)
spectrum during |v| noise
(flat, but with periodic buzz)
|0|-||:
Place = Linguadental (tongue-teeth)
Flat constriction (slit fricatives); flat (rather than
round or grooved) constrictions produce a weak
noise
No resonator in front of the constriction; like [f]
and [v], spectrum has a pretty flat shape (no well-
defined resonant peaks)
Place is always listed as linguadental, but for || in
particular the tongue is often behind the top teeth;
i.e., || is more often dental than linguadental/
interdental.

|s|-|z|:
Place = alveolar
Round-ish, grooved constriction; these produce a
strong noise
Short resonator in front of the constriction formed by
the lips; spectrum has a strong high-frequency
formant peak. Why high freq? Short tubes have high-
freq resonances.
|su|:
|z|: Spectrogram for |z| (not shown) is very similar, except
that voicing (a glottal buzz) will be mixed in with the noise,
just like |v| and ||.
spectrum during [s] noise (hi-freq peak)
|j|-|| (also |s| and |z|; small wedge over |s|/|z| = hachek):
Place = Alveopalatal/Palatoalveolar/Prepalatal
Round-ish, grooved constriction; these produce a strong
noise
Relative to [s]-[z]: Place further back and lips are rounded.
Result: Longer resonator in front of the constriction; longer
tubes have lower resonant freqs. So, |j| has more low freq
energy than |s|; || has more low freq energy than |z|.
|su|:
|ju|:
More low
freq energy
for |ju| than
|su|. Same
deal for ||
and |z|.
|h|:
Place = Glottal (whisper)
Tongue, lips & jaw dont have anything in
particular to do in the production of |h| since it
is a glottal articulation.
Since the vocal tract can do whatever it pleases
during |h|, the tongue, lips & jaw will take the
position of the following vowel.
|h|, then, is simply a whispered vowel:
he |hI|: |h| = whispered |I|
who |hu|: |h| = whispered |u|
hoe |ho|: |h| = whispered |o| .
.
. .
. .
|n|:
Voiced glottal fricative, which may seem impossible.
When /h/ (the slashes here are deliberate) occurs
between two vowels, as in:

behind
behold
ahoy
The glottal fricative can be breathy (partially
voiced) rather than whispered. In breathy voice, the
glottis is simultaneously producing hiss and buzz.
Phonetically, the resulting sound is called a voiced
glottal fricative, though it is partially voicing
(periodic) and hiss (aperiodic) elements from the
glottis are mixed; the symbol is |n|.

hoy |hI|
ahoy |onI|
spectrum during |h| no harmonics
spectrum during |n| note the harmonics
|h|
|n|
3. Nasals
Vocal tract is closed (at the lips, alveolar ridge, or
velum); velum is lowered; acoustic energy flows
through the nose rather than mouth.

|m|: bilabial
|n|: alveolar
|p|: velar

|p|: Symbol called engma or long n
|p| can end words (sing |sip|; lung |I:p|, bang
|bcp|, etc.) or appear in the middles of words
(singer |sipo|, sinker |sipLo|, IanguId |Icpgvid|),
but |p| cannot begin words.

NOTE: Spelling convention: ng = |p|, but there is no |g|
in sing, singer, song, hanger, stirring, bang, banger, etc.

A |g| may follow the |p|, though:
strangle |slicpgoI|
Bangor |bcpgo|
languid |Icpgvid|
mangle |mcpgoI|
jungle |d:pgoI|
|L| following |p| is also common:
sinker |sipLo|
lanky |IcpLI|
blank |bIcpL|
clunker |LI:pLo|

4. Affricates
There are only 2 on these in English:

|lj| & |d| (also |c| and |j|)
church |ljolj| (or |coc|)
judge |d:d| (or ||j:j|)
The mechanism of sound production: (1) the vocal
tract is completely occluded (with the velum up); the
occlusion is released into a short fricative: |j| or ||.
Affricates are stops followed by short fricatives.
Place: Alveopalatal/Palatoalveolar/Prepalatal; the
same as |j|-||, not the same as |l|-|d|.
Place is not alveolar, as indicated in the text.
5. Approximants (note the spelling)
Two Types of Approximants

Liquids Glides (also called semivowels)
|r| |I| |v| |j|
red |icd| led |Icd| wed |vcd| yet |jcl|
These sounds are vowel-ish consonants, though
they are definitely consonants. For |i v j| (i.e., all
but |I|), there is a vowel with the same quality:
|i| : |o| |v| : |u| |j| : |I|
|i| is the consonant version of |o|
|v| is the consonant version of |u|
|j| is the consonant version of |I|

|I| is called a lateral: the tongue is on the alveolar ridge, and
acoustic energy flows along the two sides (lateral margins) of the
tongue. This is how |I| gets the name lateral. Its all by itself; i.e.,
|I| is the only lateral consonant in English.

|i v j|: these are produced in the same way as |o u I|
|i|: retroflex or bunched, somewhat rounded (like |o|)
|v|: high, back, rounded (like |u|)
|j|: high, front, spread (like |I|)
Notice that these are features of vowel articulation, not features
of consonant articulation. But since these really are consonants,
somehow we have to force these onto a consonant articulation
chart using features such as alveolar, palatal, alveopalatal, etc.
Its cumbersome and a bit forced, but its done.
|i| = alveolar (sometimes palatal); |v| = bilabial and velar; |j| =
palatal
Classifications are somewhat arbitrary, but you still have to learn
them.
Last Point on Approximants

The symbol weve been using in here for
consonant R is |i|.
In the IPA, |i| is used for a trilled R, as in Spanish
(and many other languages).
The official IPA symbol for the rhotic R that
occurs in English is |J| (lower case R rotated 180
0
).
This is a headache to write, and since English
does not have a trilled R, its convenient just to
borrow the |i| symbol. But you will sometimes
see the |J| symbol.
6. Flap
Alveolar place; like a [d], but with very brief contact
with the alveolar ridge. In English flaps occur as an
allophone of /t/ and /d/ between vowels and preceding
unstressed vowels:
ladder |Iio|
latter |Iio| homophones
plotter |pIuio|
plodder |pIuio| homophones
kitty |LiiI|
butter |b:io|
bladder |bIio|
seedy |sIiI|
ready |iciI|
better |bcio|
6. Flap (contd)
How are |d| and |i| different? |d| and |i| are essentially the same
sound, but |i| has a very brief contact with the alveolar ridge.
The word identity (spoken as it typically is in ordinary
conversational speech) has one |d| and one |i|. Try transcribing
this word.
identity: |aIdcnoiI|
Note the very brief contact for the flap much shorter than for the
|d|. Also note that the |d| precedes a stressed syllable while the flap
precedes an unstressed syllable. Also:
Wendy |vcndI| vs. wedding |vciip|
Andes |ndIz| vs. attic |iiL| (or |ioL|)
One of the most common mistake students make is usually using a
|l| rather than a |i| in words like:
phonetics, butter, plotter, heterogeneity, pattern, crater
6. Flap (contd)
Last point: Many languages use a flap as their
R sound; e.g., Japanese.

Akira: |uLIiu| (not |uLIdu|)
Hiroshi: |hIiojI| (not |hIdojI|)
arigato: |aiIgulo| (not |adIgulo|)