Glossary of Phonetic Terms (Microsoft.Speech)
Phonetic alphabets isolate the discreet speech sounds of languages and represent speech sounds with combinations of letters, numbers, and characters which are known as “phones”. In addition, phonetic alphabets use a vocabulary of terms that describe phones and their articulation, including the following characteristics:
Manner of articulation. Describes how the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs make contact to produce a sound.
Place of articulation. The point of contact, where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an active (moving) articulator (typically some part of the tongue) and a passive (stationary) articulator (typically some part of the roof of the mouth).
Phonation type. Indicates whether a sound is voiced or voiceless. A voiced sound is one in which the vocal cords vibrate. A voiced sound is one in which the vocal cords do not vibrate.
Airstream mechanism. The method by which airflow is created in the vocal tract.
The following table defines terms used to describe speech sounds and their components, contains additional terms used in phonetics, and includes the abbreviations used in the phone tables of the Phonetic Alphabet Reference (Microsoft.Speech).
Example in en-US
An advanced sound is pronounced farther to the front of the vocal tract than some reference point.
Advanced tongue root
Moving the base of the tongue forward, expanding the pharyngeal cavity, by during the pronunciation of a vowel. Often includes lowering the larynx.
A consonant sound that begins with stop-like total closure for the vocal tract, followed by a more controlled, fricative-style release (i.e. a stricture causing friction.)
[ch] (chin), [j] (joy)
Similar spoken sounds that are represented by the same phoneme (think letter of the alphabet). There may be multiple phones (pronunciations) for a single phoneme. For example, the different pronunciations of the letter “t” in the words tub, stub, but, butter, and button are allophones of the phoneme /t/.*
A consonant that is articulated with the tongue against or close to the upper alveolar ridge, which contain the sockets for the upper teeth.
[t](talk), [d] (dig)
A consonant that is articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the body of the tongue raised toward the palate.
A consonant that is produced by obstructing the air passage with the tip of the tongue.
Speech sounds made by moving articulators close to each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow.
There are five basic active articulators for creating speech: the lip, the flexible front of the tongue, the middle/back of the tongue, the root of the tongue together with the epiglottis, and the larynx.
A strong burst of air that accompanies either the release of some obstruents.
Indicates that the position of the tongue is close to the back of the mouth during the articulation of a vowel. Back vowels are also called dark volewls.
A consonant articulated with both lips.
A sound in which the vocal cords vibrate, but are held further apart so that a larger volume of air escapes between them.
Indicates that the position of the tongue is positioned halfway between the front and the back of the mouth during the articulation of a vowel.
A vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.
A sound produced by closing the vocal tract at two places of articulation in the mouth, rarifying (uncompressing) the air in the enclosed space by lowering the tongue, and then releasing both closures.
A consonant that is articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue
A sound in which the airflow through the glottis is very slow and the vocal chords vibrate more slowly than with normal voicing.
A consonant that is articulated with the tongue against the upper teeth, such as /t/, /d/, and /n/.
A consonant that is articulated with a flat tongue against the alveolar ridge and upper teeth
A consonant that is articulated with the lower teeth against the upper lip
Literally "two sounds" or "two tones", a unitary vowel that changes quality during its pronunciation.
A consonant that is articulated with the mid body of the tongue (the dorsum).
Sounds in which the air stream is created by pushing air out through the mouth or nose. Egresives may be one of the following types:
Pulmonic egressive. The air stream is created by the lungs, ribs, and diaphragm to make sounds.
Lingual egressive. With the velum closed, the speaker forces air out of the mouth using either the tongue or cheeks.
Glottalic egressive sounds are known as ejectives.
Voiceless consonants that are pronounced with simultaneous closure of the glottis.
Flap (or Tap)
A type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator (such as the tongue) is thrown against another.
A consonant sound formed with limited closure of the vocal tract, (i.e. a steady stricture causing friction).
Indicates that the position of the tongue is close to the front of the mouth during the articulation of a vowel.
Sound production involving only the glottis.
The combination of the vocal folds (vocal chords) and the space in between the folds.
Indicates that the tongue is in a raised vertical position relative to either the roof of the mouth or the aperture of the jaw to pronounce certain vowels. Vowels thus pronounced are also higher in pitch. Also called closed vowels.
[i] and [u]
Implosives consonants are stops in which the airstream is controlled by moving the glottis downward in addition to expelling air from the lungs
A consonant that is produced by placing the blade of the tongue (the top surface just behind the tip of the tongue) against the upper incisors
A consonant in which one or both lips are the active articulator.
Consonants that have two primary places of articulation, at the lips and the gums.
A sound made both by shaping the roundness of the lips and by raising the body of the tongue toward the hard palate. Rare.
Consonants that have two primary places of articulation, at the velum and the lips.
A consonant that is articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.
Consonants that are articulated with the lips and with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate.
A consonant that is produced by obstructing the air passage with the blade of the tongue, which is the flat, top surface just behind the tip of the tongue.
"L"-like consonants pronounced with an occlusion made somewhere along the axis of the tongue, while air from the lungs escapes at one side or both sides of the tongue. The approximant /l/ is the only lateral in English.
A consonant that is produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract and then releasing it to escape at one side or both sides of the tongue.
A vowel sound made with the lips less rounded.
A consonant articulated by placing the tongue tip or blade against the upper lip, which is drawn downward to meet the tongue.
A sound articulated with the tongue or lip lowered (the mouth more open) than some reference point. Also called open vowel.
A vowel that is produced with the tongue positioned mid-way between an open (low) vowel and a close (high) vowel.
A vowel closer to the mid-point of the vowel space, both in terms of front-to-back and top-to-bottom, than some point of reference.
Literally "one sound" or "one tone", a vowel whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed.
A vowel sound made with the lips more rounded.
A consonant that is produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose.
A consonant that is produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract and then releasing it, allowing the air to escape freely through the nose.
No audible release
A consonant that is produced by blocking the oral tract , but there is no audible indication of when that occlusion ends.
Vowel-like sounds that are not the most prominent part of a syllable.
A consonant sound formed by obstructing airflow, resulting in partial or total closure of the vocal tract.
A consonant sound that is made by allowing air to escape from the mouth, as opposed to the nose.
[p], [w], [v] or [x].
The correct method of writing a language, including spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks and punctuation.
A consonant that is articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth).
A consonant that is articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx.
The pharynx lies behind the oral cavity.
A notation (letters, numbers, characters) that represents a discreet sound in a spoken language. Changing a phone in a word will alter its pronunciation. See Phoneme and Allophone.
A basic component of written language, typically a letter of an alphabet, (or the combination of multiple letters) that represents a group of similar sounds. Changing a phoneme in a word will alter its spelling. A written word is an assemblage of phonemes. A phoneme may represent multiple phones. See Phone and Allophone.
[c] (cow, certain); [th] (that, thimble, teeth)
A consonant that is articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate
A consonant that is articulated with the root (base) of the tongue in the throat.
A sound that is articulated with the tongue or lip raised higher than some reference point.
A sound that is pronounced farther to the back of the vocal tract than some reference point.
Retracted tongue root
The neutral position or the the retraction of the base of the tongue in the pharynx during the pronunciation of a vowel.
A consonant that is articulated with the roof of the oral cavity behind the alveolar ridge, and may even be curled back to touch the palate or uvula
Rhotic speakers pronounce /r/ in all positions within a word, while non-rhotic speakers pronounce /r/ only if it is followed by a vowel sound.
The pronunciation of a vowel with lips formed in a circular opening.
A vowel pronounced with the tongue positioned between a high (close) vowel and a mid vowel.
A vowel pronounced with the tongue positioned between a low (open) vowel and a mid vowel.
A type of fricative or affricate consonant, made by directing a jet of air through a narrow channel in the vocal tract towards the sharp edge of the teeth.
[s](sin), [ʃʷ̜] (shin)
A speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract. Vowels are sonorants.
A consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract, followed by an explosive release of air. Also called plosive.
A consonant made by contact with the underside of the tip of the tongue.
The building blocks of words, syllables are typically made up of a syllable nuclear (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants).
A consonant which either forms a syllable on its own, or is the nucleus of a syllable.
The use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning.
A consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the articulator and the place of articulation.
A vowel pronounced with the lips not rounded, that is, relaxed.
A vowel pronounced with the tongue between the high (close) and mid vowel positions.
A consonant that is articulated with the back of the tongue against or near the uvula, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants.
A consonant that is articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum).
A secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant.
The back part of the roof of the mouth; the soft palate.
Consists of the laryngeal cavity, the pharynx, the oral cavity, and the nasal cavity.
A voiced sound is one in which the vocal cords vibrate.
A voiced sound is one in which the vocal cords do not vibrate.
A spoken sound pronounced with an open vocal tract.
In transcription, individual phones are placed between slashes: /sh/.
Individual phonemes are placed in square brackets: [ʃ]