Hello, here we are! Another week, and another goal to teach you. Are you ready to learn English pronunciation and elevate your speaking confidence?
Today we’re going to start a 5 part series on consonants.
Before you dive right in, make sure you have a look this tutorial over on our website:
This’ll give you a great foundation first. So stop this video and check that tutorial out if you haven’t already.
Now, I don’t want to get all science based on you, but that is what I am. A communication scientist. My goal is to educate you in the precise details your English speaking needs. Because I know this matters to you. I also know that you’re clever, thorough and driven to learn. So, if you get stuck on the scientific terms around pronunciation how can you progress?
It’s time to learn the more about English consonants. Then, your can do a better job of solving your personal pronunciation concerns.
English has a tonne of consonants, right?
But did you know that we can divide them into 6 groups?
- Nasals Flaps
These groupings help us niche down on sound qualities. If we categorise our sounds, we can make sure that our problem sounds have the right features.
I want you to learn the phonetic categories for your English sounds.
Did you ever go to the shops and fill your bag with too much stuff? The bag is exploding, your hands are burning holding it. You’ve got your 5 cartons of milk, tomato cans, bananas, 6 packs of pasta, tissue box and ALL the things messing around in the one bag. What a headache right?
But if you split your groceries. Cans in 1 bag, milk in another, vegies in another, life becomes more organised. It’s easier to manage the load.
This is exactly what we need to do with your consonants.
I don’t want you throwing in you p’s, your sh’s and your n’s all in the one bag. It’s like putting eggs with the toilet cleaning products. No way ma’am. We need more structure than that.
So before you tell me, how?
I just don’t can’t get my head around all the sounds.
It’s embarrassing when I open my pie hole to speak…
I am here.
Well actually, phonetics is here.
Phonetics is like the Marie Kondo of ALL your pronunciation mess.
Once you start to sort through your sounds, you see what you need. And this will get you speaking so much better. You won’t even recognise yourself.
This is the power of phonetics. When you understand more about how phonetics organises sounds, you can get a stronger grip on what your English speaking needs. And then you’ll really give your listener the chance to focus in on your message. You’ll also feel calmer, less messy, read to do the job.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be explaining the 6 ways we organise consonants into groups. But today, let’s get started with the PLOSIVES.
Or as I like to say EXPLOSIVE PLOSIVES
I don’t want to be rude or vulgar on this channel. I mean, my mum always watches, bless her. But I do want you to remember info.
So… shut your ears if you are a bit precious.
Frankly, you can think of the plosives as sounds that explode out of your mouth. I’m sure you know where I am going. Yep.
Kind of like a mouth fart.
Ok let’s get serious.
Here is what you are going to learn today:
- You’ll learn which consonant sounds need to explode like dynamite out of your mouth
- You’ll have the opportunity to make these sounds with me. Yay! Bonus Voice Science session. I’ll share some groovy little tips that only my clinic clients have seen before.
- Then, I’ll show you how to measure your explosive plosives so you can tell if you’re right or not.
Plosives: refer to the specific way a sound is formed. To create a plosive sound, the voice cavity is blocked completely before suddenly releasing a burst of airstream or voice vibration. To create a plosive correctly you must completely close the cavities of the mouth or nose so that no airstream releases. And then you explode the sound out by opening the blockage you have made.
It’s like popping pop corn, only with your face!
There are 7 plosive sounds in English.
I’ll show them to you right now with their corresponding phonetic symbol.
Ok now it’s time to make these sounds together. I want you to focus in on what is happening mechanically for each of these sounds.
Pronounce the English Plosives
/p/ and /b/ : Bilabial Plosives
When I form these sounds I close the airstream or voice stream at the lips.
To get these sounds right, you need to seal your lips completely then pop and release the sound.
Watch my mouth.
/t/ /d/ Alveolar Plosives
When I form these sounds I close the airstream or voice stream while my tongue seals the mouth by lifting behind my top front teeth to touch the tissue where you can burn your mouth on hot soup.
Then I burst the airstream or voice vibration by dropping the tongue rapidly.
For English on these sounds the release is strong, especially for /t/, Stay tuned because I’ll show you a bit more about that later.
/k/ and /g/ Velar Plosives
If you’re getting sleepy or bored right now, you’ve got the perfect excuse to yawn right now. See these sounds are formed right at the back of the mouth at the skin tissue that lifts when you yawn. Try a yawn now. Do you feel the stretching at the back near the roof of your mouth? That was your soft palate working out and the precise place where we release air pressure for the /g/ and /k/ sounds.
/ʔ/ Glottal stop
The last plosive is very distinct and it occurs right down in your neck, in your voice.
This speech sound is kind of non existent because it’s the outcome of no sound release. We make this sound by holding the vocal muscle together tightly.
You make this sound in other activities unrelated to speaking like:
Lifiting something heavy. The glottal stop serves to stabilise your abdomen and chest by trapping air in your lungs. On release you may hear a little grunt noise.
You’ll need: A tissue, your hand, a mirror
Let’s take the plosives and check how the tissue moves on their release. If you’re struggling to copy my manouvers, it may suggest that you’re using the incorrect mechanics. Sometimes some precise adjustments are needed to get you right on point with your pronunciation so make sure you check out Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit – the best way for you to get f/back tailored to you.
[MODEL WITH TISSUE]
Some word contexts will see different pressure levels or even deletions.
This is something our team will train you in the nuances of if you work with us but let’s have a quick look at /t/ and how it can vary across words according to the sound release and pressure features.
Notice the variation. Lots going on isn’t there?
Clean and clear English speaking is important for your confidence
If you’re feeling held back by the challenges of speaking correctly, we need to talk!
You see, learning the sounds of English is detailed. There are simply SO MANY sounds, just like there are so many spices in my spice rack.
If you are cooking a great paella, you need all the ingredients.
Let’s just say we ran out of saffron. Sure, we could add cumin instead but the dish would lack the precise flavour it needs. The rich and decadent flavour that saffron brings which makes paella- paella.
And if your English pronunciation has something incorrect that you just can’t put your finger on, it pays to check that the right sounds have been used correctly. Today you learned that one ingredient is correct plosives. In my next tutorial I can’t wait to show you the next ingredient to add to the mix, so if you enjoyed this vlog today make sure you give it a like, and subscribe because you don’t miss the next part of this consonant series.
I hope that this tutorial helped you focus in on something new and gave you more ideas about the direction your English pronunciation needs to take so you can start communicating with more confidence and comfort.
If you’re getting all hot and sweaty about your English pronunciation make sure you check out Your Personalised Pronunciation audit, over on our website via the link below. This is the first step to moving your speaking forward so you can communicate with ease and success.
Enrol and Start the Work Right Now!
I want to congratulate you for all the good things I’m sure you’re already doing but also I want to encourage you to keep up the work. Pronunciation agility takes time, and dedication, so don’t lose the faith. Focus in on our strategies that we’re sharing weekly and make sure you get your hands on all the free downloads to help you along the way, over on our website. Just look for the TIPS page. We have a complete treasure trove of ideas just for you.
And, if you want to go deeper, why not enrol today in Your Personalised Pronunciation audit. You’ll learn so much and the added bonus is, I’ll finally get to meet YOU which’ll be pretty exciting. And, you can do it no matter where you live. We have clients signing up for this from all over the world!
As we conclude this tutorial I want to remind you, when you work on your pronunciation that it is really normal to be unsure about what sounds you need to fix, especially if English isn’t your first language.
Which is why I custom engineered Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit.
A neat and engaging way for you to get the feedback you need on your English speaking right now, wherever you are.
I have developed this audit because I believe that you can learn anywhere. And you can improve anywhere.
Your personalised pronunciation audit makes our expert clinic accessible to you no matter where you are in the world.
After working with 1000s of clients who want to improve their English I saw that there was a real need for tailored feedback on English speaking globally that is precise and strategic so that you can learn exactly what your pronunciation needs to sound more confident and comfortable.
On that note, it’s time to wrap up this pronunciation party.
Thank you so much for being here.
Remember your voice and message matter enormously.
And I’m here to advocate for your comfy communication so don’t be shy to ask a question here. I’ll reply.
Have a great day. Hold your head high and speak with pride.
As I always say, “Communication is like string theory, it’s the foundation of everything, so go get them!”
Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you soon,