Learning American Consonants
One of the key skills that I teach my accent reduction coaching clients from Japan, China & Latin America is how to articulate American English consonants.
24 Consonant Sounds
American English has 24 consonant sounds.
- 15 consonant sounds are voiced
- 9 consonant sounds are voiceless
Voiced Consonant Sounds
Voiced sounds create a strong vibration in your vocal chords when you say them.
The 15 voiced consonant sounds are: /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/, /δ/, /z/, /ʒ/, /dʒ/, /m/, /n/, /ng/, /l/, /r/, /y/, /w/.
Voiceless Consonant Sounds
Voiceless sounds do not create a strong vibration in your vocal chords.
The 9 voiceless consonant sounds are: /p/, /t/, /k/, /f/, /θ/, /s/, /∫/, / t∫/, /h/.
Most People Are Better at Voiceless Sounds
Most people say the voiceless consonant sounds pretty well.
But the voiced sounds are often more challenging. Voiced sounds are really important though.
One Big Reason You Need to Use Voiced Consonant Sounds
One big reason why you need to use voiced consonant sounds has to do with grammar.
- Most of the time a word final S has a voiced /z/ sound.
- And if you don’t say that /z/ sound, your grammar will sound incorrect.
- Most of the time a word final ED has a voiced /d/ sound.
- And if you don’t say that /d/ sound, your grammar will sound incorrect.
Chinese, Japanese & Spanish Speakers
If you’re a Chinese, Japanese or Spanish speaker, using voiced consonant sounds is a key skill that you need to learn if you want to improve the way you speak American English.
You should get a book to help you with this skill.
If you don’t have a book, you can check out my recommendations here-