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:
- The English L is normally pronounced ‘dark’, not like a French L (tel)
- The ɳ sound is a nasalized “ng”.
- The R can vary from trill to tap to retroflex (i.e. Scots to Indian English).
- Some accents (e.g. Scots) pronounce the wh /ʍ/.
- 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/.