So, as the weather finally becomes more British, let’s begin by looking the consonant sounds which ‘explode’ out of your mouth. These are called ‘plosives’ (for obvious reasons). They are /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, and /g/. It’s useful to remember that three of these sounds are pronounced by using your voice, and some are simply explosions of air. Today, I’ll look at one pair of plosive the /p/ and the /b/ sounds. /p/ is just a release of air, a whisper of a sound that has no actual voice. For example ‘Pete’ /piːt/ and ‘pit’ /pɪt/, If you’re hearing any sound with the /p/, then you’re doing it wrong J. /b/ is pretty much the same sound but, with a voice J, a lot of the exploding air is used up by the vocal chords, so you get ‘beat’ /biːt/, and ‘bit’ /bɪt/. There’s almost a /m/ sound preceding it. Arabic speakers, in particular, have difficulty establishing the difference between these two sounds because in Arabic the sound /p/ doesn’t exist

Consequently, they substitute with the nearest sound they do have, which is /b/. Here at ETC you often hear Arabic speakers saying /biːbəl/ when they mean ‘people’ /piːpəl/. A common trick used by teachers at ETC is for the student to hold a piece of paper about six inches from their lips and then say the /p/ and the /b/ sounds. With the /p/, the paper should really move, but with the /b/ it doesn’t move so much. So, from a blogger enjoying a bit of gentle rain, it’s bye for now. Next week we’ll have a look at another pair of ‘plosives’. J

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