Consonants (Revised on June 2005)

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Consonant Table
vowels . technical term and the picture of the vocal tracts . diacritics . phonetic brackets . examples of phonetic records


Here consonants are described with reference to the following criteria:

1. The Source of the Air Stream and the Direction (see about various non pulmonic sounds here)
2. Voiced or Voiceless
3. Manner of articulation
4. Place of Articulation (the explanation with picture)

The consonant tables show many examples of EL consonant symbols.

The representation in EL

# A pair of similarly shaped symbols shares a set of the same manner and
place of articulation, distinguishing unvoiced and voiced.
Also an unvoiced base relates to the simplified shape of the main place of articulation in the vocal tract.

[t]: voiceless alveolar plosive (the symbol has a flat tongue shape)
[d]: voiced alveolar plosive

# A base overlay is a gathering of the phonetic elements to pronounce a sound at one time. A consonant base is compounded with not only an additional symbol/diacritic, but also with another consonant; sometimes even with a vowel, as long as the articulations are needed at one time for the sound.

# A two-consonants base overlay shows the combination sound.

# When a plosive is compounded with a fricative, the symbol shows an affricate.

1. The Source of the Air Stream and the Direction


The way to pronounce using the air stream from the lungs is called Pulmonic,
and usually Pulmonic is used for speaking.
So most EL phoneme symbols show Pulmonics by themselves;
and EL has no particular symbol for only Pulmonic.


When the air is from other sources, it°«s called Non-pulmonic.
This sound is produced unrelated to the air stream from the lungs.
EL uses the following four bases for Non-pulmonics;
and the definitions might be a little different from IPA.
All those bases are used compounding with another consonant/
(vowel also in case for ), showing each articulation place/way.

See the non-pulmonic table for various possible examples of the following non-pulmonic sounds.

(the outward-heading shape): Ejective

Closing vocal fold, make a completely closed mouth + pharynx cavity;
compress that oral air to higher pressure than atmospheric air pressure;
and release the closure in each way shown by the voiceless base overlay
to make equalize boss air pressures.
(stop) or a fricative symbol can also be compounded with .
Try to touch your throat; you feel the movement that your glottis pushes up
from the bottom to make this type of sounds. So they are called glottalic egressives, too.
In most cases, the anterior closure is released, but compounded with (voiceless nasal) is for
the sound that the oral air rushes out through the nasal cavity, keeping to hold the anterior closure.

(closed and inward-heading shape): Ingressive

IPA classifies this into two ways: velaric ingressives and glottalic ingressive.

Velaric Ingressives/Oral Click with

Trap air between the tongue and the ceiling of the mouth with closures
at velar (the soft palate) and front oral shown by the base overlay.
Make the enclosed chamber larger to rarefy the oral air pressure than the atmosphere;
and suck and release the front closure to make these click sounds, keeping the velar closure.

Only shows the click sound that is similarly produced as above,
but holding the front closure and release the velar closure.
This click can be produced with a voiced nasal sound apart at a time: ( voiced nasal)

Nasal Clicks/nasal velaric ingressives

Trap air in the mouth as oral clicks do, and lower center of the tongue
and slide back of velar to rarefy the air; release the front closure.
Air turbulently rushes in from outside.
At this time, egressive flow occurs through the nose with vibration of the vocal folds;
then click and a voiced nasal sound are produced at once.

Compounding with a consonant such as lateral, dental/alveolar, retroflex.

Glottalic Ingressive/Implosives with

Closing vocal fold and nasal cavity, make a completely closed mouth + pharynx cavity;
lowering larynx, increase the volume of that cavity.
Oral air pressure becomes less than atmospheric air pressure;
release of front/above closure to create turbulent air flow generating implosive burst noise,
At the time, lung pressure rises and the air pushed out of lungs make a vocal folds vibrate.

Compounding with , , , , , are possible.

When holding the mouth closure without air, and release nasal closure in the same way, it°«s nasal glottalic ingressive:

Opposite air stream:
(this base is used for opposite in the definition system):
A phoneme compounded with this base is pronounced using the air stream to the lungs,
but not from the lungs. This changes the direction of the air stream into the opposite from usual.
American moms make sound, when showing a joyful surprise to their little children.
* Stop is a kind of non-pulmonic; they are shown by the combination of
and a symbol for articulation place that usually works as a consonant by itself,
meaning that the air stop at the place.

2. Voiced or Voiceless

Consonants are distinguished by the state of vibration of the vocal folds ?
whether vibrating (voiced) or not (voiceless).
An EL consonant base is originally set up as one of them,
using similar shapes for a pair of consonant bases, which manners and
places of articulation are the same, but are different between voiced and voiceless.
Also usually El voiceless consonant bases symbolize the main organ shape for each pronunciation.

Voiceless Alveolar Plosive [t]: (the flat tongue shape),
Voiced Alveolar Plosive [d]: (similar to )
Voiceless Dental Alveolar fricative [s]: (the shape of the center of the front teeth),
Voiced Dental Alveolar fricative [z]: (similar to )

Switching Voiced/Voiceless
When a voiceless consonant symbol is compounded with (15), it changes into a voiced sound.
( means °∆recognition°« in the definition system; this is used
by the meaning of more recognizable sound with Voice)
Also (05) switches a voiced sound into a voiceless.
( means denied in the definition system; is used to deny Voice for the sound.)
A vowel compounded with is a whispered vowel.

3. Manner of Articulation

The following manners relate to producing consonants.

Total closure

A complete closure is made at some point in the vocal tract,
soft palate is raised and air pressure thus builds up behind the closure, then release explosively.

Plosive bases:
[p] (Bilabial, the lips shape), [b],
[t] }(Alveolar, the shapes of the flat tongue), [d],
[c] (Palatal, the shape of the hard palate), [J]
[k] (Velar, back raised tongue shape from the side), [g].
[q] (Uvular, the symbol of the junction of air passages),
(Glottal, the symbolic shape of explosion;
this is also used for diacritic to change another phoneme into a plosive)

Stop (11)
When a complete closure is made at some point in the vocal tract
and stop without releasing, it's just no sound stop.
In EL, is compounded with a plosive symbol to show stop at a certain place.
Also a compound with an ejective/ingressive shows its type of stop.
The only base shows the Glottal-stop (stop at the glottis.)

Nasal (02)
A complete closure is made at some point in the mouth;
the air escapes through the nose. The base shows the complete closed mouth nasal,
and it works for nasalization (to change another phoneme into a nasal sound).
The base shape symbolizes the air goes straight up and out through the nasal cavity.

The main Nasal sounds shown by compounding a certain plosive and :
{39,02} [m] Bilabial nasal
{37,02} Labiodental nasal
{20,48,02} Dental nasal
{48,02} [n] Alveolar nasal
{36,48,02} Retroflex nasal (e.g. Panini in Hindi )
{51,02} Palatal nasal
{09,02} [?] Velar nasal
{09,39,02} Labiovelar nasal
[N] {45,02} Uvular nasa
A vowel compounded with shows its nasalized vowel with the lowered soft palate.

A complete closure is made at some point in the mouth:
air pressure builds up behind the closure, and is then released relatively slowly
(compared to a plosive release).

Homorganic Affricate:
The first a sharp plosive sounds, but this is followed
by an element of audible friction using the same organs.
In EL, a phoneme compounded with { (to make a plosive), (to make a fricative)}, or a base overlay of plosive and fricative at the same place represents a homorganic affricate.

{, } shows the affricate between [t] and [s].
This is the combination of [t] and [s]; is different from [ts]:

Affricate with two different closures:
Affricative with two different closures between plosive and fricative is also shown
as their base overlay.

{ [p], [s]}. This sound is often used to get others' attention;
written as °»psst.°… The fricative seems like to sound after the plosive ,
but without preparing the [s] tongue together with [p] lips, this doesn°«t sound.

Intermittent closure

Trill or Shake (41)
One articulator taps rapidly against another:

and : with lips
: the tongue tip against the alveolar ridge
: the tongue back against the uvula
A vowel with shows that the vowel is produced with the specially shaking pharynx; usually the long sound symbol (03) comes next to it.

Tap or Flap (55)
A single tap is made by one articulator against another.

: the °∆d°« in ladder,
: °∆r°« in very, or,
: at the hard palate

Intermittent closure

Trill or Shake (41)
One articulator taps rapidly against another:

and : with lips
: the tongue tip against the alveolar ridge
: the tongue back against the uvula
A vowel with shows that the vowel is produced with the specially shaking pharynx; usually the long sound symbol (03) comes next to it.

Tap or Flap (55)
A single tap is made by one articulator against another.

: the °∆d°« in ladder,
: °∆r°« in very, or,
: at the hard palate

Partial closure

Lateral (14):
A partial closure is made at some point in the mouth, in such a way that
the air stream is allowed to escape around the side(s) of the closure.
(14) is for this: [l] (Alveolar lateral approximant.)

, , , , ,
: the air escape from only one side of the tongue.
((60) is an additional symbol to show using only one side of the tongue or lips.)


(These examples are in the vowel section)
It is produced by breathing without friction through
between almost approached organs of a certain consonant.
The symbol (63) to loosen a closure compounds with a plosive or a fricative,
and makes it the certain approximant in EL.

Two vocal organs come so close together that the movement of air
between them causes audible friction.

The bases for the main fricatives are:
[f], [v] (labiodental, n has the lower lip shape of this sound),
[s] [z] (alveolar, y has the shape of around between front teeth),
(pharyngeal, the pharynx wall and the space shape), [h] (glottal; opened uvular shape)
and are used compounding with a vowel/nasal to show the mouse situation
when one of these are used for the pronunciation. E.g. [ho]

Other fricatives are shown as base overlays as:
, , , , ,

It is pronounced with breathing or full emission of breath;
a base overlay of a consonant and (glottal fricative [ h ]) shows an aspirate,
because the breath comes through [h] for the consonant sound.
(NB) An aspirate of vowel (as ah! in a sigh ) is shown like an affricate
compounded with , because the vowel is produced by the breath of plosive first
and fricative next at the glottis. {67,68} shows [ha], since [h] works with [a] mouth together.
Aspirated °»ah°… is .

4. The places of articulation in the vocal tract

A manner above works at a place of articulation in the vocal tract, and makes a sound.
Sometimes a combination of them makes a complex sound.
In the following explanations, if you are not familiar with those technical words,
please refer the picture here, through numbers for the articulation place.

You°«ll see more examples in the consonant-table.

Bilabial: both lips work.
[p] (39) This base symbolizes lips; Voiceless bilabial plosive
[b] (40) This base is transformed from ; Voiced bilabial plosive
(31) the back tongue semi-vowel; for labialization( as the diacritic) in a base overlay:
the lips are excessively rounded at the same time as the primary articulation is made.
{12,39} Voiceless bilabial fricative ( e.g. 'f' in Fuji in Japanese )
{12,40} Voiced bilabial fricative
{40,41} Bilabial trill ( gives trill. Babies often make this sound when their teeth come out)
{39,65} Voiceless bilabial alveolar affricate
{09,39} Voiceless labiovelar plosive
{12,09,39} Voiceless Labiovelar fricative
{10,40} Voiced labiovelar plosive
[m], W

Labio-dental: the lower lip articulates with the upper teeth
[f] (37) The base symbolizes the lower lip to pronounce this sound; Voiceless labiodental fricative
[v] (38) This base is transformed from ; Voiced labiodental fricative
{38,63} Labiodental approximant

: The tongue tip and rims articulate with the upper teeth.
{20(outer),48} Voiceless dental plosive:
the tongue articulates with the outer/more front place than 48alveolar) which means upper teeth.
{20,47} Voiced dental plosive
{20,65} [¶»] Voiceless dental fricative
{20,66} Voiced dental fricative *See in the next item for the bases 48, 47, 65, 66

Alveolar: The blade + the tip of the tongue articulates with the alveolar ridge.
[t] (48) This base symbolizes the flat tongue to pronounce the sound; Voiceless alveolar plosive
{11,48} Alveolar stop. To show stopping the air stream at a certain articulation, It sounds nothing.
{31labialization,48} Voiceless alveolar plosive with excessively rounded lips

[d] (47) This base is transformed from ; Voiced alveolar plosive
[s] (65) This base symbolizes around between front two teeth, because the sound air goes through there; Voiceless alveolar fricative
{12,51,65} Voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative.( e.g. 'sh' of shika(deer) in Japanese
{48,65}: Voiceless alveolar affricate (* A base overlay of a plosive and a inner fricative shows an affricate )
[z] (66) This base has also the ridge shape similarly to ; Voiced alveolar fricative.
{66,52} Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate
{47,66} : Voiced alveolar affricate

[l] (14) The shape symbolizes the tongue dividing the air in both sides;
It shows alveolar lateral approximant; works as the lateral release diacritic in a base overlay:
the breath escapes along the sides of tongue.
(See the semivowel section for more examples of approximant )
{05,12fricative,14} Voiceless alveolar lateral fricative
{12,14} Voiced alveolar lateral fricative
{14,60} Alveolar one-side lateral approximant
(A base overlay with is pronounced using only one side of the organ(s) of articulation)
{60,12,14} Voiced alveolar one side lateral fricative

(55) This base has the flapping tongue shape: Alveolar tap or flap;
(A  single tap is made by one articulator against another)
{14,55} Alveolar lateral flap
{41,55} trilled and flapped ( r in perro [pero] (dog) in Spanish is this )

Post/Palato Alveolar
The blade of the tongue articulates with the alveolar ridge,
with a simultaneous raising of the front of the tongue towards the hard palate.
( (inner/backward) with an alveolar base)
{19,48} Voiceless post-alveolar plosive
{19,47} Voiced post-alveolar plosive
{19,65} Voiceless post-alveolar fricative
{19,66} [?] Voiced post-alveolar fricativ

This base symbolizes the shape of the curled tongue from the side;
The tip of the curled tongue articulates with the rear of the alveolar ridge.
It works as the retroflex diacritic in a base overlay

The tip of the tongue is curled back to articulate with the area
between the rear of the alveolar ridge and the front of the hard palate
(36; curled tongue shape): [ r ]
{36,47}: Voiced retroflex plosive
{36,48}: Voiceless retroflex plosiv
{36,41trill}: Alveolar trill
{36,55}: Retroflex Tap
{36,65}: Voiceless retroflex fricative
{36,66}: Voiced retroflex fricative
{36 [r],39 [p]}:pr in pray, program in English is a consonant: p and r are pronounced at the same time.
{14 [l],39 [p]}: pl in play, plan are in the same way: p and l together make a consonant at once.

The front of the tongue articulates with the hard palate.
(51) [c] (the shape of the hard palate between both sides teeth): Voiceless palatal plosive
(e.g. [kuca] of kutya in Hung.)
(52) (transformed from ): Voiced palatal plosive (e.g. [j] of dge in judge in English)
{12,51} [?] Voiceless palatal fricative (e.g. German ich )
{12,52} Voiced palatal fricative
{63,52} palatalized [i]: palatal approximant: to work for palatalization for a vowel

The back of the tongue articulates with the soft palate.
(09) [k] Symbolizing the tongue, which back is lifted up.
(It's the simillar symbol as Han-gwr); Voiceless velar plosive
(10) [g] Transformed from ; Voiced velar plosive
{02,09} [?] Velar nasal
{63,10} Velar approximant : the same as the vowel ; it works for a vowel velarization.
{12,09} Voiceless velar fricative
{12,10} Voiced velar fricative
{09,65} Affricate combined [k] and [s]: pronounce k with s tongue
{12,09,65} Simultaneous [S] and [x]: Both consonants are fricative because of .

The back of the tongue articulates with the uvula.
[q] (the shape symbolizes the cross point of the mouth, nasal and pharynx cavities): Voiceless uvular plosive
{02,45} [N] Uvular nasal
{05,45} [G] Voiced uvular plosive
{12,45} Uvular fricative
{41,45}[R] Uvular trill ( [R] in French 'rue' )

The front wall of the pharynx (around epiglottis) articulates with the back wall.
(the shape symbolizes the narrowed pharyngeal cavity) : Voiceless pharyngeal fricative;
it works for pharyngealization in a base overlay: The pharynx is narrowed at the same time as the primary articulation is made. For voiced pharyngeal, compounded with a vowel or a voiced sound.
{02,70} Nasal pharyngeal
{67,70} [?] Voiced pharyngeal with [a] mouth
{40,70}(bilabial) Voiced pharyngeal bilabial plosive

The vocal folds come together to cause a closure or friction.
Glottal plosive , symbolizing energy open to spread)
{02,44} [n!] nasal epiglottal plosive (momentary sound)
{67,44} [a! ] (momentary sound)

(wide opened throat shape) Voiceless Glottal fricative [h]
it works as the aspirated diacritic in a base overlay with another consonant:
to pronounce with a breathing or full emission of breath.
To show voiced glottal fricative, it also needs to form a base overlay with a vowel for the mouth sift.
{02,68}: nasal [h!] ), {34,68}: [ho],
{47,68}: [dh], {20,68}: Voiceless epiglottal fricative
*For a voiced epiglottal fricative, {a vowel symbol, (fricative)} can be used,
as the husky voice distinguishing from type of sounds
(stopping shape) Glottal stop;
compounding with a consonant base, it shows to stop the breath and sound at the closure.

The main consonant bases are used for showing Secondary Articulation in each place;
you will see about it in the technical term section, too.

For the total relations and more examples, see the consonant table.

To the top links
Written by Yoshiko, referring to 'The Cambridge encyclopedia of language'( Cambridge University Press, 1987), Webster's Dictionary - deluxe edition, Kenkyusha's New English-Japanese Dictionary (1987),
International Phonetic Alphabet and 7 bit representation of the IPA.