Consonants: voiced and unvoiced

Many consonant sounds come in pairs. For example, P and B are produced in the same place in the mouth with the tongue in the same position.

The only difference is that P is an unvoiced sound (no vibration of the vocal cords) while B is a voiced sound (vocal cords vibrate). Put your hand on your throat as you say the pairs below to feel the difference.

Note that the first pair of consonants in the table (p, b) is produced at the front of the mouth. Each pair shifts further back with the last pair (k, g) being produced in the throat.

The consonant sounds are represented using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The words in parentheses represent phonetic transcriptions. Click on the examples below to hear these consonant sounds. Pay special attention to the letters in bold.

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IPA examples   IPA examples
voiced unvoiced
b book
(bk)
p please
(pliz)
 
v vanilla
(vnIl)
  f five
(faIv)
 
they
(eI)
  thirty
(ti)
 
d dish
(dI)
  t ten
(tn)
 
z zero
(z)
  s sir
(s)
 
genre
(nr)
  she
(i)
 
jump
(mp)
  cheers
(s)
 
g good
(gd)
  k king
(kIŋ)

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2 comments for “Consonants: voiced and unvoiced

  1. ryakala
    31 July 2014 at 9:45 am

    In British English pronunciation Some of the consonants are different from American English…..how can we differnciate both ….because it will help us for betterment…..

    • lkl
      31 July 2014 at 6:09 pm

      You’ll need to find a site written by a British English speaker. This site teaches only American English, because that’s what I speak.

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