An ELT Glossary : Consonant sounds

Definition : Consonants are phonemes whose production involves some sort of obstruction of the airflow, complete or partial,  as it passes out from the lungs through the mouth. This contrasts with vowels, which are phonemes made without any obstruction of the airflow as it passes out through the vocal tract.

Examples :  The sound /p/ is made by closing both lips to momentarily block the airflow before then releasing it; the sound /v/ is made by bringing the top teeth very close to the bottom lip so that the airflow can't escape easily but is forced through a very small space, creating friction.

Consonant sounds used in English are :

/p/ as in pen
/b/ as in big
/t/ as in tea
/d/ as in dim
/ʧ/ as in chat
/ʤ/ as in jump
/k/ as in kite
/g/ as in goat
/f/ as in feel
/v/ as in vote
/θ/ as in thin
/ð/ as in this
/s/ as in see
/z/ as in zoo
/ʃ/ as in show
/ʒ/ as in measure
/m/ as in man
/n/ as in not
/ŋ/ as in sing
/h/ as in hot
/l/ as in lean
/r/ as in run
/w/ as in win
/j/ as in yet


Consonant sounds are described and distinguished from each other using three descriptors: voice, place of articulation and manner of articulation. For example, /p/ is an unvoiced bilabial plosive, while /v/ is a voiced labiodental fricative.