* English

The standard English consonant system is traditionally considered to comprise 17 obstruents (6 plosives, 2 affricates and 9 fricatives) and 7 sonorants (3 nasals, 2 liquids and 2 semivowel glides).

With the exception of the fricative /h/, the obstruents are usually classified in pairs as "voiceless and "voiced", although the presence or absence of periodicity in the signal resulting from laryngeal vibration is not a reliable feature distinguishing the two classes. They are better considered "fortis" (strong) and "lenis" (weak), with duration of constriction and intensity of the noise component signalling the distinction.

The six plosives are p b t d k g

	Symbol		Word			Transcription	IPA
	p		pin			pIn		pɪn
	b		bin			bIn		bɪn
	t		tin			tIn		tɪn
	d		din			dIn		dɪn
	k		kin			kIn		kɪn
	g		give			gIv		gɪv
The "lenis" stops are most reliably voiced intervocalically; aspiration duration following the release in the fortis stops varies considerably with context, being practically absent following /s/, and varying with degree of stress syllable-initially.

The two phonemic affricates are tS and dZ

	tS		chin			tSIn		tʃɪn
	dZ		gin			dZIn		dʒɪn
As with the lenis stop consonants, /dZ/ is most reliably voiced between vowels.

There are nine fricatives, f v T D s z S Z h

	f		fin			fIn		fɪn
	v		vim			vIm		vɪm
	T		thin			TIn		θɪn
	D		this			DIs		ðɪs
	s		sin			sIn		sɪn
	z		zing			zIN		zɪŋ
	S		shin			SIn		ʃɪn
	Z		measure			"meZ@		ˈmeʒə
	h		hit			hIt		hɪt
Intervocalically the lenis fricatives are usually fully voiced, and they are often weakened to approximants (fricationless continuants) in unstressed position.

The sonorants are three nasals m n N, two liquids r l, and two sonorant glides w j:

	m		mock			mQk		mɒk
	n		knock			nQk		nɒk
	N		thing			TIN		θɪŋ
	r		wrong			rQN		rɒŋ
	l		long			lQN		lɒŋ
	w		wasp			wQsp		wɒsp
	j		yacht			jQt		jɒt
The English vowels fall into two classes, traditionally known as "short" and "long" but, owing to the contextual effect on duration of following "fortis" and "lenis" consonants (traditional "long" vowels preceding fortis consonants can be shorter than "short" vowels preceding lenis consonants), they are better described as "checked" (not occurring in a stressed syllable without a following consonant) and "free".

The checked vowels are I e { Q V U:

	I		pit			pIt		pɪt
	e		pet			pet		pet
	{		pat			p{t		pæt
	Q		pot			pQt		pɒt
	V		cut			kVt		kʌt
	U		put			pUt		pʊt
There is a short central vowel, normally unstressed:
	@		another			@"nVD@		əˈnʌðə
The free vowels comprise monophthongs and diphthongs, although no hard and fast line can be drawn between these categories. They can be placed in three groups according to their final quality: i: eI aI OI, u: @U aU, 3: A: O: I@ e@ U@. They are exemplified as follows:
	i:		ease			i:z		iːz
	eI		raise			reIz		reɪz
	aI		rise			raIz		raɪz
	OI		noise			nOIz		nɔɪz

	u:		lose			lu:z		luːz
	@U		nose			n@Uz		nəʊz
	aU		rouse			raUz		raʊz

	3:		furs			f3:z		fɜːz
	A:		stars			stA:z		stɑːz
	O:		cause			kO:z		kɔːz
	I@		fears			fI@z		fɪəz
	e@		stairs			ste@z		steəz
	U@		cures			kjU@z		kjʊəz
The vowels /i:/ and /u:/ in unstressed syllables vary in their pronunciation between a close [i]/[u] and a more open [I]/[U]. Therefore it is suggested that /i/ and /u/ be used as indeterminacy symbols.
	i		happy			"h{pi		ˈhæpi
	u		into			"Intu		ˈɪntu


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Maintained by J.C. Wells. Created 1995 09 19. Unicode/IPA version 1999 04 29.