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Manner of articulation

In speech there are different ways of producing a consonant.

Manners of articulation include:

  • Nasals, where there is a total blockage and the sound instead goes through the nose. Examples include English /m/, /n/, etc.
  • Plosives, or stops, an "explosion" resulting from a momentary closure and then release of air. Examples include English /p/, /b/, etc.
  • Fricatives, or spirants, where there is continuous friction at the place of articulation. Examples include English /f/, /s/, etc. Sibilants are a special type of fricative where the airflow is shaped by the form of the tongue. /s/ and /z/ are sibilants in English. Lateral fricatives are yet another type of fricative, where the friction occurs on one or both side of the edge of the tongue. The "ll" of the Welsh language is a lateral fricative.
  • Approximants, (semivowels or liquids), where the sound is only partially obstructed. Examples include English /w/, /r/, etc. Lateral approximants, such as the English /l/, is a special type of approximant formed at one or both sides of the tongue.
  • Taps, where a "tap" at the place of articulation results in an instantaneous closure and reopening of the vocal tract. The "tt" of "utter" is pronounced as a tap in North American English.
  • Trills, where taps are repeated in rapid succession. The double "r" of Spanish "perro" is a trill.
  • Ejectives, a special type of stop/plosive where the explosive mechanism is provided by the glottis (in the throat) instead of the diaphragm.
  • Implosives, a special type of stop/plosive where there is an inflow of air due to the downward movement of the glottis.
  • Clicks! (Used in Khoisan languages) These are akin to the "tsk tsk" sound of English.

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