See examples of each of the IPA Consonant Sounds with examples in common English words. You can listen to each English consonant sound pronounced by a native English speaker and practise your pronunciation of each consonant sound.
English has 24 consonant sounds. Some consonants have voice from the voicebox and some don’t. These consonants are voiced and voiceless pairs /p/ /b/, /t/ /d/, /k/ /g/, /f/ /v/, /s/ /z/, /θ/ /ð/, /ʃ/ /ʒ/, /ʈʃ/ /dʒ/. These consonants are voiced /h/, /w/, /n/, /m/, /r/, /j/, /ŋ/, /l/.
I understand that for many people, the IPA symbols can look a little overwhelming. But remember, you don’t have to know every IPA symbol for it to be seriously helpful for improving your English pronunciation
Read this video lesson on English consonant sounds with IPA, the International Phonetic Symbols to revise all the consonants in English.
Before we get started, let’s go over two things you need to know about the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Even if you don’t know all the English Consonant IPA symbols, still use the IPA for important information such as:
– when you see the two dots /:/ it means the sound is long
– each symbol represents a sound
– when you see this dash /’/ it means the next syllable is stressed
Why is the IPA so helpful for English pronunciation? The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a very helpful tool for learners of English because English is not a phonetic language. The spelling of an English word doesn’t tell us how to pronounce it. In English, several different letter combinations can be used to spell the same sound and there are silent letters. The IPA tells us exactly the correct sounds and word stress for pronouncing English words.
Let’s talk about voicing. Voiced and unvoiced pairs. English consonants can be unvoiced and voiced.
An unvoiced consonant means that there is is no vibration or voice coming from the voicebox when the sound is pronounced. Examples of unvoiced consonant sounds are /s/, /p/ and /t/.
A voiced consonant means that there is voice or vibration coming from the voicebox when the sound is pronounced. Examples of voiced consonant sounds are /v/, /b/ and /g/.
A consonant pair is when the mouth position required to make two sounds is the same, but one sound in unvoiced and one sound is voiced.
We have put the voiced and unvoiced pairs in the box together. Remember that the mouth position for the pair is exactly the same, the only difference is that one is voiced and one isn’t.
For example, the mouth position required to make the sounds /p/ and /b/ is exactly the same, /p/ has no voice and /b/ is voiced.
/f/ and /v/ require exactly the same mouth position, /f/ is unvoiced and /v/ is voiced.
Refresh your consonant sounds ipa symbols now with the tools below.
TOP TIPS FOR REVISING CONSONANT SOUNDS IPA SYMBOLS WITH EXAMPLES
Don’t worry too much about voicing. It is not really very important for how clear your English is to listeners.
You need to focus on your mouth position. Are you pronouncing each consonant clearly?
Pay careful attention to consonant sounds at the ends of words. Consonant sounds at the ends of words are very important for speaking clearly in English.
For example, when pronouncing /k/ in the word ‘back’, make sure you can clearly hear the /k/ sound at the end. It is strong or stressed but it does need t be there.
Consonant Sounds – Voiced & Unvoiced Pairs With International Phonetic Symbols – IPA
The consonant sounds IPA symbols below are all voiced but do not have a voiced pair.
The consonant IPA symbols /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/ are all called nasal sounds, because when we make them the air passes through our nose, not out of the mouth. As you go through these sounds, check your /m/ and /n/ at the ends of words.
Here are some more examples of consonants sounds in the IPA with full IPA transcription for words with each consonant sound. See the full IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols for each consonant sound here