Every consonant is described with three labels voice, place and manner.
Voice = whether or not the vocal cords are vibrated when the sound is made.
Place = which articulators (parts of the vocal tract) are used to make the sound
Manner = how the sound is made
Some examples :
- /p/ is an unvoiced bilabial plosive. It is made without vibrating the vocal cords (voice), by using both lips (place) and by momentarily blocking the flow of air before releasing it (manner).
- /v/ is a voiced labiodental fricative. It is made by vibrating the vocal cords (voice), by bringing the top teeth to touch the bottom lip (place) and by forcing the air through the small gap between them, causing friction between the air molecules (manner).
- /n/ is a voiced alveolar nasal. It is made by vibrating the vocal cords (voice), by bringing the tongue up to touch the alveolar ridge - ie the bony ridge just behind the teeth (place), and by blocking the flow of air through the mouth but releasing it through the nose (manner).