Pronunciation and Phonology in the EFL Classroom - Place of Articulation Pt. 1
Place of articulation deals with the placement of the vocal organs when producing a sound. Before we can cover the particulars of places of articulation, we'll need to take a look at the various vocal organs and their locations. Moving from the front to the back we'd begin with our lips. We can use both lips in order to create a sound or we can use one of our lips with one of our rows of teeth, usually the top, in order to produce another sound. We also have other sounds, which use both of the rows of teeth. Further back we have what's called the alveolar ridge. That's the bit of the mouth that may get burnt when we're eating a pizza that's a bit too hot and the cheese burns just behind there our top two teeth. That again is the hard bit just behind our top teeth, called the alveolar ridge. Just behind that we have our hard palate and we use that to create some sounds and behind our hard palate is our soft palate or what some people refer to as our velum. We use those to create a few sounds as well. Within that from the front to the back we do have our nasal cavity and then finally we have our vocal cords and we use those for a few sounds as well. Let's take a look at how the various parts come together to make these sounds. Sounds, which utilize both the top and bottom lips, are called bilabial sounds. They typically come together as we're making the sound as in ?b? and ?m? but can also be used closed as when saying the sound ?w?. In either instance we're either closing our mouth or using both lips to create that sound. Sounds, which utilize the bottom lip and the top row of teeth, are known as labial dental sounds. The two sounds that are used in this way are the ?f? and ?v? sounds. Again, we're using our top row of teeth and our bottom lips to create our ?f? and ?v? sounds. Dental sounds involve placing the tongue between both the top and the bottom rolls of teeth. There are only two sounds made in this way and those are both of the ?th? sounds. One is voiced, one isn't voiced. The unvoiced sound is ?th? as in think, the other is voiced and it's ?th? as in that.
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