Voiced and Unvoiced Sounds

There are 27 letters of the alphabet.  There are 42 sounds total and 24 of those sounds are consonant sounds. Each individual sound is called a ‘phoneme’.  

There are two types of sounds in English; voiced and unvoiced.  A ‘voiced’ sound means that your voicebox, located near the front of your neck, will create a louder, more audible sound and you can feel a vibration when speaking that sound. All vowel sounds are voiced as well as a few consonant sounds.  They are listed here:

/b, d, g, j, l, m, n, r, v, w, ng, wh, z/.  The sound for /th/ can be pronounced voiced as in /that/ or unvoiced as in /bath/.  There is a voiced version of the sound /sh/ that is shown with the symbol /zh/ that you hear in the words, measure, vision, Asia.  

The unvoiced sounds in English are created by manipulating the air with the breath but no voice is used in creating these sounds.  It might sound like a ‘whispered’ version of speech.  These sounds are: /f, h, k, p, s, t, sh, th, ch/.  It is important that when producing these sounds, you are not adding a voiced /uh/ to the end of these sounds.  For example, I have heard some people pronounce the sound, /p/ as /puh/.  That is incorrect, adding a vowel and a voiced sound to the end of the /p/.   When saying /p/, pop the lips open as in the word, /up/ but don’t add an /uh/ to the end of that sound.