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     voiced and voiceless consonants

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    AuthorMessage
    assistant2008
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    Number of posts : 2
    Registration date : 2007-12-25

    PostSubject: voiced and voiceless consonants   Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:27 am

    One problem that many students face in pronunciation is whether a consonant is voiced or voiceless. This guide should help you understand the differences and give you some simple rules.

    What is Voiced?
    A simple explanation of voiced consonants is that they use the voice. This is easy to test by putting your finger on your throat. If you feel a vibration the consonant is voiced. Here is a list of some voiced consonants. Pronounce each consonant sound (not the letter) and feel the vibration of your vocal chords.
    b
    d
    th (as in then)
    v
    l
    r
    z
    j (as in Jane)

    What is Voiceless?
    Voiceless consonants do not use the voice. They are percussive and use hard sounds. Once again, you can test if a consonant is voiceless by putting your finger on your throat. You will feel no vibration in your throat, just a short explosion of air as you pronounce. Pronounce each of these consonant sounds and feel NO vibration in your throat.
    p
    t
    k
    s
    sh
    ch
    th (as in thing)

    Careful! Some Consonants Voiced, but are Voiceless
    When consonants are put in groups they can change the voiced or voiceless quality of the consonant that follows. A great example of this is the past simple form of regular verbs. As you know, regular verbs add -ed to the end of the verb in the past simple.
    play - played
    wash - washed
    live - lived etc.
    These past simple verbs all end in '-ed'. However, some of the verbs are pronounced with a voiceless 't' sound and some are pronounced with the voiced 'd' sound. Why? Here are the rules:


    * If -ed is preceded by a voiceless consonant sound (p, k, sh, etc.) -ed sounds as a voiceless 't'. Remember that the 'e' is silent.
    * If -ed is preceded by a voiced consonant sound (d, b, v, etc.) -ed sounds as a voiced 'd'. Remember that the 'e' is silent.
    * If -ed is preceded by a vowel sound (often 'ay') -ed sounds as a voiced 'd' because vowels are always voiced. Remember that the 'e' is silent.
    * Exception: If -ed is preceded by 't' pronounce a voiced -id. In this case, the 'e' is pronounced.


    This pattern can also be found with plural forms. If the consonant preceding the 's' is voiced, 's' will sound as voiced 'z':
    chairs
    machines
    bags
    If the consonant preceding the 's' is voiceless, 's' will sound as voiceless 's':
    bats
    parks
    pipes

    Connected Speech
    Finally, when speaking in sentences the ending consonant sounds can change based on the following words. This is often referred to as 'connected speech'. Here is an example of a change from a voiced 'b' in the word 'club' to a voiceless 'p' because of the voiced 't' of 'to' of the following word:
    We went to the club to meet some friends.
    Here is an example of a change from a voiced 'd' past simple verb changed to voiceless 't':
    We played tennis yesterday afternoon.
    Exercise:
    Take this list of words and decide if the final consonants are voiced or voiceless.

    washed
    traveled
    coats
    gloves
    shells
    watched
    started
    changed
    books
    wheels
    lived
    dreams
    seats
    dropped
    exchanged
    globes
    phones
    carts
    listened
    organized

    Answers:
    washed - voiceless
    traveled - voiced
    coats - voiceless
    gloves - voiced
    shells - voiced
    watched - voiceless
    started - voiced
    changed - voiced
    books - voiceless
    wheels - voiced
    lived - voiced
    dreams - voiced
    seats - voiceless
    dropped - voiceless
    exchanged - voiced
    globes - voiced
    phones - voiced
    carts - voiceless
    listened - voiced
    organized - voiced

    Have FUN
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