What Is The Difference Between The Consonant Sound And Vowel Sound?

Teacher teaching the vowel and consonant sound

The Consonant Sound And Vowel Sound

The Difference Between The Consonant Sound And Vowel Sound?

The vowels and the Consonants make up our English alphabet. We use a combination of them to make words. These words follow grammatical rules to prepare meaningful sentences.

But, what is the difference between them? How do you discern between consonant sounds and vowel sounds? Keep reading this article till the end to know more about it.

The Vowels And The Consonants

Before we go into the specifics of consonant sounds and vowel sounds, it's better to know the basics at the beginning.

There are five vowels in the English alphabet, and they include A, E, I, O, and U. Rest of the alphabet in the English language are all consonants. This denotes twenty-six alphabets. We have twenty-one consonants and five vowels.

The interesting fact here is that the five vowels produce twenty different sounds. So though you have around twenty-one vowels, there are twenty-four sounds all together in English.  

One articulates the basic vowel sounds with the help of the open vocal tract. This denotes that when you utter the vowels, the teeth don't come in between the lips. On the other hand, when you articulate the consonant sounds, you use closed or partially closed vocals. Can you give an example of words with no vowels and five letters? It's not possible.

Vowels are, in a way, the nucleus of the sentences. But you cannot form a word without the help of the vowels. Take, for example, the word, database. Here the word is tri-syllabic, Da-ta- base. Here you observe that a vowel is attached to the consonant to form pronunciation.

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Vowel Sounds

Let's find out about the vowel sounds while distinguishing consonant sounds and vowel sounds. There are five vowels, but you have around twenty sounds or phonemes. This denotes a single vowel that produces different types of sounds when used in different words.

For example, the pronunciation of words like all (/ɔːl/), hate (/heɪt/), and the heart (/hɑːt/) are all different. One has a rounded mouth; the other two have slightly opened and opened mouths.

Based on the usage of vowels and the sound produced, there are around six kinds of vowel sounds:

  • Short Vowels.
  • Long Vowels.
  • Diphthongs.
  • Vowels before the historical R.
  • Weak Vowels.

1. Short Vowels

With short vowels, the world's sound stays for a second (short time), meaning you can pronounce it in one go. For example, in the word Trap, the transcript of the vowel is /æ/. So you can call them trap vowels.

2. Long Vowels

Here the vowels in words have an elongated delivery. It takes time to complete the word. For example, if you take the words Greece, Start, and Goose. You can pronounce vowels like /iː/ in the case of the word Greece. The “ee” is elongated.

3. Diphthongs

These vowels have slightly distinctive pronunciations. You have a feeling that you are joining two vowels to utter one word. For example, consider the verb, Face. Transcription has to be like /eɪ/, FA-IC. The same goes in for words like Cow, Strain, Freight, Height, Maneuver, and others.

4. Historical R

The words will be pronounced like the final "r" will be dropped completely here. This will leave a vowel sound. For example, consider the word, Square. The transcription of the vowel will be, /ɛː/. Now, while you pronounce the words, the "r" at the end of the word will completely leave the vowel.

5. Weak Vowels

This is the most common sound with vowels in English. However, the sound of vowels in the word completely differs from the traditional sound. For example, if you use the word Letter, the pronunciation will not agree with the perception of the word structure. The same law goes for Common, Hammer, and about words.

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The Pronunciation Of Consonants

Just like the vowels, there is a thorough classification among the consonants in the list. When you utter the consonants, you will see that there is a constricted flow of air from different oral locations. This is one of the main components in consonant sound and vowel sounds. So let's check this out to get a better understanding.

1. Brief Stopping Before You Release It In The Air

When you release the words in the air, take a little stop. With consonants like P, B, T, D, K, and G, you follow this rule of consonant pronunciation. For example, when you pronounce the word Papa, you see that the word is a di-syllabic word. So we get Pa-pa while pronouncing it.

2. Changing The Resonance Of Your Nose

You get this pronunciation with the consonants M, N, and NG. When you pronounce these consonant-based words (for example, Money, Mother), you tend to close the mouth and the teeth.

But some part of the breath will get exhaled from the nose. For N consonants like Nothing, you experience a vibration with your tongue as it touches the support part of the mouth and behind the teeth. Likewise, you will feel some vibration in your nose.

3. Pressing The Airflow Through A Narrow Space

You follow this rule with the consonants like F, V, S, Z, Zh, Sh, and H. So, for example, if you pronounce the words Fast, Zebra, Mission, and Session - you will have to pass the air through a narrow space. This is an important aspect of consonant sound and vowel sounds.

4. Combining The Sound And Squeezing It  

Here you combine the sound of the words. Then you could squeeze it completely. For example, you could do it with CH and J. For example, if you pronounce words like Jazz, Charcoal, and Coach.

Closing It Down

You can narrow your Vocal Tract down with W, Y, R, and I consonants. Notable examples include words like Rest, Pitcher, Part, Year, Shy, Pitcher, Caloreism, Sly, and others. In addition, certain consonants act like vowels. The letters Y, W, and R are good examples of words uttered with a vowel sound. We hope you get a preliminary idea regarding consonant sounds and vowel sounds.

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Author: Miranda Shaffer is a passionate blogger. She loves to share her thoughts, ideas, and experiences with the world through blogging.

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