British English Pronunciation for the IELTS Speaking Test – consonants part 1.

depositphotos_12630060-Two-businessmen-standing-and-talking-with-speech-bubbles-on-white-backgroundvideo-imageSo far in my series of posts on pronunciation for the IELTS Speaking Test, I have looked at vowel and diphthong sounds.

In the next two posts, I’d like to look at the pronunciation of consonant sounds.

Before you watch the following video, here are some notes on the production of consonants.

There are various factors to consider in the production of consonant sounds:

  • the manner and place of articulation

How is the sound produced?  Where is the movement of air in the mouth?

How do we use the different parts of the mouth to produce the sound? E.g. the lips, the teeth, the tongue, the nasal passage (OK, not really the mouth I know!) and the jaw.

  • vibration of the vocal chords

Do the vocal chords vibrate when you produce the sound?  If you put your fingertips on either side of your throat when you produce the sound, you will notice if there is movement or not.

With the majority of consonants, there is movement and these are known as voiced sounds.  There are only eight consonants where there is no movement, known as voiceless sounds.  These eight consonants are:

/p/ , /t/ , /ʧ/ , /k/ , /f/ , /θ/ , /s/ and /ʃ/

  • air flow

How much air flow is there when we produce the consonant sound?  In the case of the eight voiceless consonant sounds, there is always more air flow produced then in the case of the voiced consonant sounds.

Now, sit back and watch the first video, which talks about the pronunciation of the first eight consonant sounds on the phonemic chart.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

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