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Difference Between Vowels and Consonants

Vowels vs. Consonants

The first time you ever learned singing the alphabet song, it never occurred to you how important it would be in your life. You thought it was fun that you finally memorized the melody and the lyrics of the cute song. But as you grew older and you taught the alphabet song to another kid, you would want that kid to learn it by heart because you, yourself, finally understood the importance of the alphabet in a person’s life. You would even want that kid to learn the proper pronunciation of each letter instantly.

You probably have a point. Learning about the alphabet and how to properly pronounce them as young as a person is will really affect how a person pronounces things later on in his/her life. Now, as you grow older, you find out that you don’t need to be an expert or to be a linguist to be able to say things properly. It gets you more respect, though, if you say things right than say things wrong. It’s more decent. Although pronunciation can vary by region, like the words “tomato” and “potato” in America, Britain, and Australia, it’s still appropriate that you have know-how about how to say them out loud. So as young as you are, you should have mastered the vowels and the consonants and the sounds associated with them. Did you know that pronouncing or producing words and spoken sounds are either done by moving your tongue to certain points of articulation or how you shape your mouth? So here are the physical and phonetic distinctions between consonants and vowels.

Vowels are five letters and the spoken sounds associated with each of them. The word “vowel” came from the Latin word “vocalis” which means “speaking.” The vowel letters are “A, E, I, O, U.” These letters are pronounced with an open mouth so there will be no trapped sounds. The flow of air to create a sound is constant when it comes to pronouncing vowels. Vowels have three categories which are: anterior and posterior (identified with where airflow is broken by the tongue), spherical (identified with the shape of a person’s lips), and height (identified with the closeness of the tongue to the roof of the mouth). The sound “AH” comes from the back of the mouth, “EH” comes from the medial back, “EEEE” is a high, middle vowel, “OH” and “OOOH” come from the cylindrical shape of the mouth.

Consonants, on the other hand, are letters that are pronounced with trapped sounds. The word “consonant” came from a borrowed Latin word “symphonon” which means “pronounced with.” Consonant letters are B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, and Z. The sounds made when a person pronounces these letters come from the different blockage in the airflow of a person’s mouth. For example, the letters “B” and “P.” The air produced to pronounce these letters are blocked by the lips. Letters “D” and “T” are blocked by a person’s tongue as it hits the roof of the mouth. The “SH” and “F” sounds are partially blocked. There are consonant letters that are called semivowels in phonetics simply because the blockage of air when the sound is produced is not total; however, the mouth of the person saying it is not as widely open as that person will pronounce vowel sounds. Examples of semivowels are the letters “W” and “Y.”

SUMMARY:

1. Vowels are five letters with sounds that are made with no blockage of airflow. Consonant
letters have sounds that are blocked by the lips or the tongue.
2. “Vowel” came from the Latin word “vocalis” which means “speaking,” while “consonant” came
from a borrowed Latin word “symphonon” which means “pronounced with.”


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