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Prof. Argenis A.

Zapata
Fonética y Fonología Inglesa I (B-2005)

Universidad de Los Andes


Facultad de Humanidades y Educación
Escuela de Idiomas Modernos

Manner of Articulation
Manner of articulation is the way in which the air passage is modified during the production
of a sound. The speech organs may cause the following degrees of closure /"kloUZ´r/ or types of
articulation:
a) Complete closure: an active articulator makes a firm contact with a passive articulator (or
two active articulators move toward each other), closing the air passage completely. As a result of
such a closure, the airflow is stopped for a short time and air pressure builds up (i.e., compresses)
behind the closure. The English consonant sounds made with this type of closure are
/p, b, t, d, k, g/ (when the soft palate is raised) and /m, n, N/ (when the soft palate is lowered).
Complete closure can be graphically represented as follows:

Passive Active
COMPLETE Articulator ↓ Articulator ↓
CLOSURE OR
↑ Active ↑ ↑ Active ↑
Articulator Articulator

b) Intermittent closure: an active articulator taps (i.e. touches very quickly) a passive
articulator once or several times, closing and opening the air passage alternately. This type of
articulation is sometimes used when we pronounce [|] as a variant way of pronouncing /r/ in
British English and intervocalic /t/ and /d/ in American English. Intermittent closure is typical of
the pronunciation of Spanish /r/. Intermittent closure can be graphically represented as follows:

Passive Passive
Articulator Articulator
INTERMITTENT ↕ OR ↕ ↕ ↕ ↕
CLOSURE
Active Active
Articulator Articulator

c) Partial (or incomplete) closure: an active articulator makes contact with part of a passive
articulator (sometimes with one of it sides, other times with its center) so that the air stream can
escape freely on one or both sides of the closure. The English consonant sound /1/ is made with
this type of closure. Partial closure can be graphically represented as follows:

1
Prof. Argenis A. Zapata
Fonética y Fonología Inglesa I (B-2005)

PARTIAL CLOSURE

Passive Passive Passive


Articulator Articulator Articulator
↑ ↑ OR ↑ ↑ OR ↑ ↑
Active Active Active
Articulator Articulator Articulator

d) Narrowing: an active articulator gets very near to a passive articulator, or makes a light
contact with it, thus reducing the air passage. If the air passes through the narrowing with
difficulty and produces audible friction, we refer to this type of closure as narrowing with
friction. The English consonant sounds /f, v, T, D, s, z, S, Z/ are made with this type of narrowing.
On the other hand, if the air can still flow freely without producing friction, we refer to this type
of articulation as narrowing without friction. The English consonant sound /r/ and the semivowels
/j, w/ are made with this latter type of narrowing. Narrowing can be graphically represented as
follows:

NARROWING WITH FRICTION NARROWING WITHOUT FRICTION

Passive Passive
Articulator Articulator

↑ Active ↑ ↑ Active ↑
Articulator Articulator

d) Complete closure and narrowing with friction: an active articulator first makes a firm
contact with a passive articulator, closing the air passage completely and allowing air pressure to
build up behind the closure. Then, very slowly, the active articulator separates a little bit from the
passive articulator, leaving a narrow space for the air to escape with some friction. The English
consonants /tS, dZ / are made with this type of articulation. Complete closure and narrowing with
friction can be graphically represented as follows:

COMPLETE CLOSURE + NARROWING WITH FRICTION

Passive Passive
Articulator Articulator
↑ Active ↑
Articulator ↓ Active ↓
Articulator