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Fictional Linguistics: Six Million Forms of Communication and Counting...
Lesson I.A.2: Consonants

Here's a chart, borrowed from the International Phonetic Association, that shows all the humanly possible consonants (not including clicks and such...) arranged by place and manner of articulation:

You'll notice there are many more consonants there than in our previous chart of American English consonants. You've also probably noticed that many of the symbols are NOT what you saw on that last chart. :-) Our next step is to learn those symbols, which make up the International Phonetic Alphabet. For more information on the IPA and some useful charts (many of which I'm borrowing for this lesson), check out the International Phonetic Association's web site. After you've learned the IPA symbols, we'll have to learn ASCII versions of them so we can write about sounds without having to use all sorts of fonts or graphics...

Note: You may wish to print out or bookmark this chart for reference...

IPA Symbols for American English Consonants

IPA As found in Description ASCII symbol we will use
pill Voiceless bilabial stop p
till Voiceless alveolar stop t
kill Voiceless velar stop k
bill Voiced bilabial stop b
dill Voiced alveolar stop d
gill Voiced velar stop g
mill Nasal Bilabial Stop m
nil Nasal Alveolar Stop n
ring Nasal Velar Stop N
feel Voiceless Labiodental Fricative f
seal Voiceless Alveolar Fricative s
heal Voiceless Glottal Fricative h
veal Voiced Labiodental Fricative v
zeal Voiced Alveolar Fricative z
thigh Voiceless Dental Fricative T
thy Voiced Dental Fricative D
shell Voiceless Palatal (Postalveolar) Fricative S
azure Voiced Palatal (Postalveolar) Fricative Z
chill Voiceless Palatal Africate C
jill Voiced Palatal Africate J
leaf Alveolar Lateral Liquid (Approximant) l
American r reef Alveolar Liquid (Approximant) r - untrilled, r[trl] - trilled (trilled r)
you Palatal Glide (Approximant) j
witch Voiced Labial-Velar Glide (Approximant) w
which Voiceless Labial-Velar Glide (Approximant) w[vls]
uh-oh Glottal Stop ?

For the other consonants on the chart, you can work from the place and manner of articulation to figure out what they sound like. Even though they're not found in English we could certainly use them in TGL if we like. Here's some common ones:

IPA As found in Description ASCII symbol we will use
Bach Voiceless Velar Fricative x
brun or rouge Uvular Fricative R

If there are any other non-English consonants you'd like to incorporate into TGL, we can come up with ASCII symbols for them also.

Now that you know the IPA symbols (and ASCII versions) of the consonants, let's do some practicing. The assignment for this lesson will make sure that you know what sound each symbol represents...

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