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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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6 Comments

  1. A young HUMAN is referred to as a CHILD OR CHILDREN

    A young GOAT is referred to as a KID

    • @Brockbank:
      Whilst your comment was a fair attempt at pedantry, unfortunately it was factually incorrect on at least two counts.
      Firstly, you wrote: “A young HUMAN is referred to as a CHILD or CHILDREN”. Regardless of capitalisation, a young human (singular) is not ever referred to as “children” (plural).
      Secondly, the word “Kid” has been used in place of the word “child” since at least the 1590’s. That means you can check virtually any English dictionary ever written, and find ‘kid’ listed with the definition of ‘child’. Pre-1800’s, the term was considered ‘slang’, and limited to informal usage. Since sometime around the mid 19th Century, however, it has been perfectly acceptable to use ‘kid’ as a synonym for ‘chiid’.
      Language, like everything else, evolves and changes over time. The only languages for which that is not true are now dead (like Latin, for example).
      Im sure that this post illustrates my point that needless pedantry is much more effective, much more annoying and much more defensible when what is written has been written correctly.

    • @Brockbank:
      A fair attempt at pedantry, but actually incorrect on at least two counts.
      Firstly, you wrote: “A young HUMAN is referred to as a CHILD or CHILDREN”.(Your caps.)
      Regardless of capitalisation, a young human (singular) can never correctly be referred to as “children” (plural).
      Secondly, the word “Kid” has been used as a synonym of the word “child” since at least the 1590’s. That means you can check virtually any English dictionary ever written, and find ‘kid’ listed with the definition of ‘child’. Pre-1800’s, the term was considered ‘slang’, and limited to informal usage. Since sometime around the mid 19th Century, however, it has been perfectly acceptable to use ‘kid’ as a synonym for ‘child’.
      Language, like everything else, evolves and changes over time. The only languages for which that is not true are now dead (like Latin, for example).
      Needless pedantry is more effective when written correctly.

  2. symphonon is a Greek word, not Latin.
    Y is more often a vowel, with more than one possible sound (as in slyly), and less frequently a consonant, usually at the beginning of a word, as in youth.
    U is another letter which can be either a vowel or sometimes a consonant pronounced like a W, as in penguin, suede, or quota.

  3. Is the y in delay a vowel or a consonant?

  4. English is not a phonetic language. Learn any phonetic language to find the difference. All Indian languages derived from Sanskrit are phonetic.

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