Consonant sounds are sounds that are produced when there is an obstruction in the air stream. The obstruction can be partial or total. The English consonants according to Roach (2002) are sounds that obstruct the flow of air through the vocal tract.
Consonants could also be described in mainly articulating terms because they usually involve contents of speech organs in their description. These sounds are produced with the air which originates from the lungs called “Pulmonic egressive air” and passes through the vocal tract. These are twenty-four (24) consonant sounds in English language. Each has its mode of articulation.
The consonant sounds are divided into two: (i) voiced sounds (ii) Voiceless sound
Voiced sounds: these are sounds produced when the vocal cords vibrate in the course of their production, in order words, some English consonants are voiced sounds. There are fifteen (15) voiced sounds in English.
They are: /b/, /d/, /g/, /j/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /r/, /v/, /w/, /z/, /ʒ/, / j /, /d/, /dʒ/
Voiceless sounds are sounds produced when the vocal cords do not vibrate in the course of the production. Meaning, some English consonant are produced when the vocal cords do not shake while producing them. These sounds are termed “voiceless sound”. There are nine (9) voiceless sounds in English, they include: /t/, /k/, /p/, /f/, /s/, /ts/, /h/, /ʃ/, /ɵ/
/j/ – approximant or semi vowel, palatal. This sounds like vowel /i/ it occurs in words that start with letter “y” as in
year /j: (r)/
It can also appear in the pronunciation of words like:
duty /dju:ti/ news /nju:z/ student /stju:dənt/
knew /nju:/ muse /mju:z/ pew /pju:/
huge /hju:dʒ/ sue /sju:/ unique /ju:nisk/