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Consonants of the english language - Essay Example

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A consonant is characterized by a constriction or closure at several points along the vocal tract. The word consonant is of Latin origin and it means "sounding with" or "sounding together", according to this idea consonants dont sound…
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Download file to see previous pages hangeable, more stable, the law of their mutations is more con­stant, or at least better ascertained, and they frequently re­main fixed in the written language, after they have been lost or changed in sound. Hence, in researches into the history of language they are of cardinal importance, and consequently have almost exclusively en­gaged the attention of etymologists, while, on the other hand, their supposed permanence, immutability and distinctness of character have led them to be much neglected. But in fact, consonants are very far from being so well discriminated. It is true that their differences are generally more easily appreciated by the ear, though less easily imitated by the tongue, than those between vowels.
The indistinct articulation of consonants in Danish, the con­founding of the hard and soft sounds of g in some dialects of Arabic, and of I and r in the Polynesian islands, the sep­aration in Italian and Spanish of consonants are united in English consonants. As a result the words often lose all resemblance from which they originated, and it is the suppression or change of consonants that disguises them. (Ladefoged Peter, 1988 p. 123)
Chasm and other words of similar ending are popularly pronounced as dissyllables, and in blossom, be-torn, bosom, and chrisom introduced a written vowel. The consonant m does not readily unite even with a preced­ing liquid, and hence the vulgar pronunciation ellutn, helium, for rim, helm, and the word alarum for alarm. It is perhaps in this reluctance of m to be linked with a preceding liquid, and the explanation of the suppression of the I balm, calm, and other words of similar ending are found. (Ladefoged Peter, 1988 p. 142)
If we talk about the formation of consonants we should point out that sounds are made by modifying an airstream. There are many points at which that stream of air can be modified. Producing a consonant sound depends on the position of vocal folds, they are either opened or closed. If ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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