A consonant is a sound of speech produced when the speaker either stops or severely constricts the airflow in the vocal tract. Consonants are classified into two categories namely, voiceless and voiced. Voiceless consonant are the consonants produced without sound from vocal cord. In voiced consonants the vocal cord vibrates. Consonants are described in terms of (i) Place of articulation (ii) Manner of articulation.
As per place of articulation, consonants can be classified as follows.
• Bilabial – produced from airflow obstruction between two lips
• Labiodental- articulated with lower lip and upper teeth.
• Interdental- produced by placing the tongue against upper incisor
• Alveolar- articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar Ridge.
• Alveo-palatal- articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the body of the tongue rose towards the palate.
• Velar – articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate
• Glottal- articulated with the glottis.
As per manner of articulation, it can be described as
• Stops – the sounds produced when the airflow is completely obstructed during speech. Example: p &b (bilabial stop); t &d (alveolar stop); k &g (velar stop).
• Fricatives – the sounds produced by forcing airflow through a narrow opening in the vocal tract and friction created producing sound. Example: f & v (labiodental); θ & ð ( Interdental); s & z (alveolar); h(glottal); ʃ & ʒ (Alveo-palatal)
• Affricates – this is a single but complex sound, beginning as a stop but releasing secondarily into a fricative. Example: tʃ & dʒ (Alveo-palatal)
• Nasals – these sounds are voiced oral stop caused by complete obstruction in oral cavity, allowing free escape of air through nose. Example: m (bilabial); n (alveolar); ŋ (velar)
• Liquids – they are approximant consonants, where air flows passed the tongue blade without much friction. Example : l (alveolar liquid)
• Glides – these are vowel-like articulations that precede and follow true vowels. It’s smooth and glides into the vowel sound. These are also sometimes referred to as semivowels. Example: w & ʍ (bilabial); ɹ (alveolar); j (alveo-palatal).
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