Recent Posts



No tags yet.

IPA (not the beer)

The International Phonetic Alphabet is a necessary tool for better appreciation of sound production and more importantly, sound categorization. To better understand the mouth shapes, subtle differences in the manner of articulation and to communicate those things effectively between people is an important asset in learning how your English pronunciation differs from another person's. Take a step back and the IPA does this for all sounds (at least those based on air flowing out from the lungs). Period.

International Phonetic Alphabet - Consonants

Sounds are characterized based on:

1) Key location of production; and

2) Manner of articulation.

Key location of production

Bilabials - involves both lips

Labiodental - involves lips and teeth

Dental - involves teeth

Alveolar - involves the alveolar ridge (the inside ridge behind the teeth)

Postalveolar - involves the area just next to the alveolar ridge

Palatal - involves the hard palate (the hard roof of your mouth just before it becomes soft)

Velar - involves the soft, squishy roof of your mouth (further in your mouth)

Glottal - involves the vocal cords

Manner of Articulation

Plosive - Airflow is blocked

Nasal - Airflow escapes through the nose

Tap - Sound is produced via the contact of one part in the mouth against another. Similar to a plosive without the buildup of pressure.

Fricative - Airflow escapes through a narrowed opening (similar to whistling)

Lateral Fricative - Similar to a fricative but the airstream is directed over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.

Approximant - Similar to a fricative but with a less narrowed opening

Lateral Approximant - Similar to an approximant but the airstream is directed over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.

  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon