manner of articulation
describes how the tongue,
lips, jaw, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound
make contact. Often the concept is only used for the production of
. For any place of articulation
, there may be
several manners, and therefore several homorganic
One parameter of manner is stricture,
that is, how closely
the speech organs approach one another. Parameters other than
stricture are those involved in the ar sounds (taps
), and the sibilancy
are included in manner, but
such as Peter Ladefoged
consider them to be
From greatest to least stricture, speech sounds may be classified
along a cline
as stop consonants
blocked airflow), fricative
(with partially blocked and therefore strongly
turbulent airflow), approximants
only slight turbulence), and vowels
unimpeded airflow). Affricates
behave as if they were intermediate between stops and fricatives,
but phonetically they are sequences of stop plus fricative.
Historically, sounds may move along this cline toward less
stricture in a process called lenition
reverse process is fortition
Sibilants are distinguished from other fricatives by the shape of
the tongue and how the airflow is directed over the teeth.
Fricatives at coronal
articulation may be sibilant or non-sibilant, sibilants being the
Taps and flaps are similar to very brief stops. However, their
articulation and behavior is distinct enough to be considered a
separate manner, rather than just length
Trills involve the vibration of one of the speech organs. Since
trilling is a separate parameter from stricture, the two may be
combined. Increasing the stricture of a typical trill results in a
affricates are also known.
Nasal airflow may be added as an independent parameter to any
speech sound. It is most commonly found in nasal stops
, but nasal fricatives, taps, and approximants are also
found. When a sound is not nasal, it is called oral.
oral stop is often called a plosive,
while a nasal stop is
generally just called a nasal.
Laterality is the release of airflow at the side of the tongue.
This can also be combined with other manners, resulting in lateral
approximants (the most common), lateral flaps, and lateral
fricatives and affricates.
- Plosive, or
oral stop, where there is complete
occlusion (blockage) of both the oral and nasal cavities
of the vocal tract, and therefore no air
flow. Examples include English /p t
k/ (voiceless) and /b d g/ (voiced). If the consonant is voiced, the voicing
is the only sound made during occlusion; if it is voiceless, a
plosive is completely silent. What we hear as a /p/ or /k/ is the
effect that the onset of the occlusion has on the
preceding vowel, and well as the release burst and its effect on the
following vowel. The shape and position of the tongue (the
place of articulation) determine the resonant cavity that gives different plosives
their characteristic sounds. All languages have plosives.
- Nasal stop,
usually shortened to nasal, where there is
complete occlusion of the oral cavity, and the air passes instead
through the nose. The shape and position of the tongue determine
the resonant cavity that gives different nasal stops their
characteristic sounds. Examples include English /m, n/.
languages have nasals, the only exceptions being in the area of
Sound and a single language on Bougainville
sometimes called spirant, where there is
continuous frication (turbulent and noisy airflow) at the place of articulation.
Examples include English /f, s/ (voiceless), /v, z/ (voiced), etc.
Most languages have fricatives, though many have only an /s/.
However, the Indigenous
Australian languages are almost completely devoid of fricatives
of any kind.
- * Sibilant
are a type of fricative where the airflow is guided by a groove in
the tongue toward the teeth, creating a high-pitched and very
distinctive sound. These are by far the most common fricatives.
Fricatives at coronal (front of
tongue) places of articulation are usually, though not always,
sibilants. English sibilants include /s/ and /z/.
- * Lateral
fricatives are a rare type of fricative, where the
frication occurs on one or both sides of the edge of the tongue.
The "ll" of Welsh and the "hl" of
Zulu are lateral fricatives.
which begins like a plosive, but this releases into a fricative
rather than having a separate release of its own. The English
letters "ch" and "j" represent affricates. Affricates are quite
common around the world, though less common than fricatives.
- Flap, often
called a tap, is a momentary closure of the oral
cavity. The "tt" of "utter" and the "dd" of "udder" are pronounced
as a flap in North American
English. Many linguists distinguish taps from
flaps, but there is no consensus on what the difference
might be. No language relies on such a difference. There are also
- Trill, in which
the articulator (usually the tip of the tongue) is held in place,
and the airstream causes it to vibrate. The double "r" of Spanish "perro" is a trill. Trills and
flaps, where there are one or more brief occlusions, constitute a
class of consonant called rhotics.
- Approximant, where there is
very little obstruction. Examples include English /w/ and /r/. In
some languages, such as Spanish, there are sounds which seem to
fall between fricative and approximant.
- *One use of the word semivowel is a type of approximant,
pronounced like a vowel but with the tongue closer to the roof of
the mouth, so that there is slight turbulence. In English, /w/ is
the semivowel equivalent of the vowel /u/, and /j/ (spelled "y") is
the semivowel equivalent of the vowel /i/ in this usage. Other
descriptions use semivowel for vowel-like sounds that are
not syllabic, but do not have the increased stricture of
approximants. These are found as elements in diphthongs. The word may also be used to cover
- * Lateral
approximants, usually shortened to
lateral, are a type of approximant pronounced with
the side of the tongue. English /l/ is a lateral. Together with the
rhotics, which have similar behavior in many languages,
these form a class of consonant called liquids.
Manners of articulation with substantial obstruction of the airflow
(plosives, fricatives, affricates) are called obstruents
. These are
prototypically voiceless, but voiced obstruents are extremely
common as well. Manners without such obstruction (nasals, liquids,
approximants, and also vowels
) are called
because they are nearly always voiced. Voiceless sonorants
are uncommon, but are found in Welsh and Classical Greek (the spelling "rh"), in
Tibetan (the "lh" of Lhasa), and the
"wh" in those dialects of English which distinguish "which" from
Sonorants may also be called resonants
, and some
linguists prefer that term, restricting the word 'sonorant' to
resonants (that is, nasals and
liquids, but not vowels or semi-vowels). Another common distinction
is between stops
(plosives and nasals) and
(all else); affricates are considered
to be both, because they are sequences of stop plus
Other airstream initiations
All of these manners of articulation are pronounced with an
, meaning that
the air flows outward, and is powered by the lungs (actually the
ribs and diaphragm
airstream mechanisms are possible. Sounds that rely on some of
which are glottalic egressive. That is, the airstream is
powered by an upward movement of the glottis
rather than by the lungs or diaphragm. Plosives, affricates, and
occasionally fricatives may occur as ejectives. All ejectives are
which are glottalic ingressive. Here the glottis moves
downward, but the lungs may be used simultaneously (to provide
voicing), and in some languages no air may actually flow into the
mouth. Implosive oral stops are not uncommon, but implosive
affricates and fricatives are rare. Voiceless implosives are also
- Clicks, which
are velaric ingressive.
Here the back of the tongue is used to create a vacuum in the
mouth, causing air to rush in when the forward occlusion (tongue or
lips) is released. Clicks may be oral or nasal, stop or affricate,
central or lateral, voiced or voiceless. They are extremely rare in
normal words outside Southern
Africa. However, English has a click in its "tsk tsk" (or "tut
tut") sound, and another is used to say "giddy up" to a horse.