Pronunciation and Phonology in the EFL Classroom - Place of Articulation Pt. 2
Alveolar sounds get their name from the fact that the alveolar ridge is being used. Again, that ridge is just behind the front top row of teeth. Here the tongue is on or very very near the alveolar ridge. It's typically the tip of the tongue or what's just behind the tip of the tongue, called the blade of the tongue. Here, we're talking about sounds such as ?t? and ?d?. If you say them at home, you can tell the tip of your tongue is on that alveolar ridge. Again, that's ?t? and ?d?, as well as sounds such as ?s? and ?z?. Again, the blade of the tongue is just near that alveolar ridge but it is very near nonetheless. The two other sounds that make it into this category is the ?l? sound, where the tip of the tongue is very clearly touching that alveolar ridge, as well as ?r? or the R sound, where the tongue is just curled a bit but up towards that alveolar ridge. Palatal-alveolar sounds have the tongue moving ever so slightly back in the vocal tract but not quite back to the soft palate. If you compare these sounds to those of the alveolar group, you should be able to feel this difference with the tongue moving just a bit slightly back. The sounds in this group include the SH sound of ?sh?. Closely related to that is the J sound as well as our CH and G sounds. Moving further back now we have our palatal sound. There's only one and that is the Y sound. Here we have our tongue raised high up against the palate in order to make that sound and therefore it involves the palate so it's our palatal sound. Again, that's the Y sound or ?y?. Further back now we have our velar sounds. They're called so because they involve the tongue being raised against the soft palate and we have a few of those sounds as in and ?k? and ?g? as well as the ?ng? sound is made here. Again, it involves the tongue up against that soft palate or the velar region of our mouth with the ?k? and ?g? as well as ?ng? sounds. Finally we have our glottal sound and that's made furthest back in the vocal tract to what's called the glottis. It's way back in the throat, in fact, not in the mouth and the only sound made there is the H sound or the ?h? sound. You can almost tell when you're saying it that it's made way back in the throat. Your mouth is nice and open. The air is flowing through. There's no vibration anywhere in the vocal tract and the sound is being made way back there. Again, that's the ?h? sound.
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