Pronouncing English Consonants

b c d f g h j k
bee cee dee ef gee (h)aitch jay kay
l m n p q r s t
el em en pee cue ar ess tee
v w x y z      
vee double-u ex wy(e) zed/zee

Consonant Sounds are produced by completely or partially stopping the breath. Consonant Sounds can be voiceless (VL, no vibration of the vocal cords) or voiced (VD, vibration of the vocal cords) and often come in sound pairs.

The symbols used for consonants are shown in the following table. Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the left is voiceless, the one to the right voiced.

  Bi­labial Labio-
Den­tal Alveo­lar Post-
Pala­tal Velar Glot­tal
Stop p  b       t  d     k  g  
Nasal m       n      
Fricative   f  v      s  z      (x) h
Approximant       W     j    

  • /p/: pit
  • /b/: bit
  • /t/: tin
  • /d/: din
  • /k/: cut
  • /g/: gut
  • //: cheap
  • //: jeep
  • /m/: map
  • /n/: nap
  • //: bang
  • /f/: fat
  • /v/: vat
  • //: thin
  • //: then
  • /s/: sap
  • /z/: zap
  • //: she
  • //: measure
  • /x/: loch, Chanukah (often replaced by /h-/ and /-k/)
  • /h/: ham
  • //: whine (also written /hw/), (only when distinguishing whine/wine, which/witch; otherwise replaced by /w/)
  • /w/: we
  • //: run (often written /r/ in broad transcription)
  • /j/: yes
  • /l/: left

Consonant Sound Practice

Read the phonemic pronunciation for each word aloud and then click to check if you got it right:

Example Phonemic pronunciation Right pronunciation
zero /'zɪrəʊ/
thunder /'θʌndər /
shy /ʃaɪ/
son /sʌn/
cheese /tʃi:z/
bottle /'bɑ:tḷ /
cat /kæt/
high /haɪ/
ship /ʃɪp/
jam /dʒæm/

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