[2.0] Consonants

The Mechanics of English Sound

This table provides and overview of English consonants, beginning with voiced sounds. The fortis-lenis distinction (sharp v soft sounds) can cause problems for Swiss-German speakers; these are highlighted in the notes below.

h   l (ɫ)  m   n   ɳ   r (ɹ,ɾ)  w (ʍ)  y
Fortis – Lenis
p-b    t-d    k-g   f-v   ɵ-ð   s-z   tʃ-ʤ   ʃ-ʒ


Notes to Table:

  1. The English L is normally pronounced ‘dark’, not like a French L (tel)
  2. The ɳ sound is a nasalized “ng”.
  3. The R can vary from trill to tap to retroflex (i.e. Scots to Indian English).
  4. Some accents (e.g. Scots) pronounce the wh /ʍ/.
  5. Aspiration and voicing (e.g. t, initial p) can vary on position. Please note the non-aspirated p – t – k in Swiss German (initial position: Coca = Goggi Thomas = Domas) or aspirated final position (Job = /ʧɑp/ versus English /ʤɑb/.