Describing Consonant Sounds: Voicing

Describing Consonant Sounds: Voicing

Consonant sounds are described by 3 things:
  1. is the sound voiced or voiceless? VOICING
  2. where is the sound constricted? PLACE OF ARTICULATION
  3. how is the airstream constricted? MANNER OF ARTICULATION


  1. If the vocal folds are held apart, the air can flow between them without being obstructed so that no noise is produced by the larynx. When air exits the lungs and passes through lax and open vocal folds, the folds do not vibrate. Sounds that are produced this way are called voiceless. Listen to examples of voiceless sounds: [f], [k], [s], [h] (.mp3)
  2. When air is forced up the trachea from the lungs, at a certain pressure it is able to force its way through the vocal cords, pushing them open. The folds are close together and tensed, causing them vibrate rapidly. This creates a buzzing noise. Sounds produced this way are called voiced. Listen to examples of voiceless sounds: [b], [m], [v], [z] (.mp3)

left: VOICELESS                                right: VOICED - closed but should be vibrating
In Module 3 Activity 2, you practiced identifying voiced and voiceless sounds. Voicing is one part of the three-part description of consonants.

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