Teaching ESL – Linguistics Terms – Sounds

Bilabial consonant sounds
sounds created by pressing the two lips togther (bi = 2; labial = lips)
EX: /b/ /m/
labiodental consonant sounds
sounds created using the teeth and the low lip (labio = lip; dental = teeth)
EX: /f/
interdental consonant sounds
sounds created by placing the tongue between the teeth (inter = between; dental = teeth)
EX: /th/
alveolar consonant sounds
sounds created by touching the TIP of the tongue to the alveolar ridge (gum ridge behind the upper front teeth) EX: /t/
palatal consonant sounds
sounds created when the MIDDLE of the tongue touches the roof of the mouth (palate)
EX: /sh/
velar consonant sounds
sounds created when the back of the tongue to the soft palate (right before the throat)
EX: /g/
oral (exit)
when air exits from the mouth only (EX: /b/)
nasal (exit)
when air exists through the nose and the mouth (EX: /m/)
stop (method of articulation)
sound is made with a total obstruction of the air (EX: /b/)
fricative (method of articulation)
sound is created by the FRICtion caused by releasing air in a stready stream; can continue indefinitely until you are out of air (EX: /f/, /s/)
affricative (method of articulation)
sound produced which starts as a “stop” and ends as a “fricative” (EX: /ch/ – starts a /t/ and ends as /sh/)
voiced sounds
class of sounds created when vocal cords vibrate (EX: /r/)
voiceless sounds
sounds created WITHOUT use of vocal cords (EX: /f/)
consonant
a sound produced with a definite and clear obstruction of air (by the lips, teeth, and/or tongue)
vowel
sounds created without obstructing the flow of air; differentiated by SHAPE of the oral cavity (inside mouth)
high vowels
those vowel sounds created with teh tongue CLOSE TO THE ROOF of the mouth (EX: /e/)
mid vowel sounds
sounds created when the tongue falls between the roof and the bottom of the mouth (EX: /a/)
low vowel sounds
sounds created when the tongue is placed at the bottom of the mouth (EX: the short o sound in pot)
approximant
sounds that have less obstruction of air than consonants, but more than vowels (EX: /l/, /r/, /y/, /w/)
rounded vowels
those vowels created when the shape of the lips is rounded (EX: /o/)
unrounded vowels
vowel sounds created when the shape of the lips is NOT rounded (EX: /e/)

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