Place of articulation

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In phonetics (the study of sounds in human speech), the place of articulation of a sound is where in the mouth the sound is made (articulated). There are at least 13 different places of articulation. They are split into four big types.

Labial (lips)[change | change source]

Labial sounds are made with one or two lips. They are split into three types:

Bilabial (two lips)[change | change source]

Bilabial sounds are made with both lips. The bilabial sounds in English are [m], [p], and [b].

Labiodental (lip and teeth)[change | change source]

Labiodental sounds are made with the lips and the teeth. Almost always the top lip and the bottom teeth are used. The labiodental sounds in English are [f] and [v].

Linguolabial (lip and tongue)[change | change source]

Linguolabial sounds are made by the tongue touching the top lip. There are no linguolabial sounds in English. Sometimes it is said to be part of the next group (Coronal).

Coronal (tip of the tongue)[change | change source]

Coronal sounds are made with the tip of the tongue. They are split into three types:

Dental (teeth and tongue)[change | change source]

Dental sounds are made by the tip of the tongue touching the back of the teeth. The dental sounds in English are [θ] and [ð].

Alveolar (gum ridge and tongue)[change | change source]

Alveolar sounds are made by the tip of the tongue touching the ridge behind the teeth. The alveolar sounds in English are [n], [t], [d], [s], [z], and [l].

Retroflex (roof of the mouth and tongue)[change | change source]

Retroflex sounds are made by pressing the tongue flat against the front part of roof of the mouth. There are no retroflex sounds in English.

Palatal (roof of the mouth and tongue)[change | change source]

Palatal sounds are made by the body of the tongue and the middle part of the roof of the mouth. The only palatal sound in English is [j]. Some say that it is part of the next group (dorsal).

Dorsal (body of the tongue)[change | change source]

Dorsal sounds are made with the body of the tongue.

Velar (soft palate and back of the tongue)[change | change source]

Velar sounds are made with the back of the tongue and the soft palate. There are three velar sounds in most dialects of English: [k], [g], and [ŋ].

Uvular (uvula and back of the tongue)[change | change source]

Uvular sounds are made with the back of the tongue and the uvula. There are no uvular sounds in English.