Pronouncing Voiced & Voiceless Consonant Sounds
Are you an Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Spanish speaker who is working to improve your American accent?
If you are….it’s really important that you learn to use voiced consonant sounds!
Let me explain what I mean…..
Voiced consonant sounds
A voiced sound causes your vocal chords to vibrate.
You should feel a significant vibration in your vocal chords when you say a voiced sound.
Voiceless consonant sounds
A voiceless sound does not cause your vocal chords to vibrate.
You should not feel a significant vibration in your vocal chords when you say a voiceless sound.
TRY THIS ⇣⇣
- Put your fingers lightly on your throat & say “zoo”.
- You should feel a vibration when you say the /z/.
- Keep your fingers on your throat & say “Sue”.
- You should not feel a strong vibration when you say the /s/.
- Put your fingers lightly on your throat & say “save”.
- You should feel a vibration when you say the /v/.
- Keep your fingers on your throat & say “safe”.
- You should not feel a vibration when you say the /f/.
American English has 15 voiced consonant sounds
American English has many voiced consonant sounds; there are 15, to be exact.
But many non-native speakers never learned to say these sounds with the correct voicing.
Failure to use correct voicing
When you say these sounds without the correct voicing, it contributes to your foreign accent.
When American English speakers don’t hear those sounds clearly, especially at the ends of words, your words will sound incomplete.
American listeners won’t always understand what you are saying!
How can you learn to articulate voiced consonant sounds?
An excellent & very affordable book for learning to use these voiced consonant sounds is:
I used this book when I taught pronunciation classes in Minneapolis & Washington, DC.
It’s easy to use, with lots of pictures & diagrams. Check it out at the link above.