Main Differences Between Vowels and Consonants (BEGE-102)



We can divide all speech sounds into two broad categories - vowels and consonants. When we produce a vowel sound, the air from the lungs comes out freely through the mouth and the vocal cords vibrate to produce voice. There is no closure of the air passage and no narrowing that would cause audible friction. All other sounds are called consonants. Vowels and consonants are two types of alphabets that show considerable difference between them when it comes to the purpose of usage.

Vowels are five in number and they are " a,e,i,o, and u". On the other hand consonants are twenty one in number. The entire alphabet other than the five vowels constitute the consonants. It is important to note that the consonants have to combine with vowels to form genuine words. In other words it can be said that consonants on their on accord cannot combine to form meaningful words. They have to take the help of the vowels to form meaningful words. The vowels are otherwise called as "sonants" and the word "consonants" means that which take the help of the sonants or the vowels.

It is rare to find two "a"s "i"s and "u"s together in a word although you can find words where two other similar vowels can appear such as good and feel. This is due to the fact that "a", "i", and "u" are called simple vowels.

There are 24 consonants and they are grouped into five types; plosives, nasals, fricatives, affricates, and approximants. Plosives are usually introduced first because the kind of construction in the mouth by which they are produced is total. There are six of them: /p,b,t,d,k,g/. Nasals have the same construction as plosives except that air is allowed to pass through the nose, but not through the mouth. There are three nasals in English : bilabial, alveolar, and velar. Fricatives have a looser construction in the mouth, which allows friction to be produced at the point of contact. An affricate consonant is a close knit sequence of plosive and fricative produced by a single organ of speech  An appproximant is a consonant in which the construction made by an organ of speech can't produce any friction at all.

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