Episode 3: Routines

Post-Listening

Episode 2                 Episode 4

Pronunciation

Stop Consonants /k/ and /g/

Do you hear the difference between these two sentences?

Now click on Sentences to read what you just heard.

I need to find my classes.

I need to find my glasses.

Consonants are divided into different groups, and /b/ and /p/, /d/ and /t/, /g/ and /k/ are called stops or plosives.

To say these sounds, we block the air for a moment until the pressure builds up and then release it in a explosion. If you put your hand in front of your mouth, you can feel the exploding air hitting your palm.

/g/ as in glass and /k/ as in class are a pair because to make the two sounds, you use the same mouth position. Lower the jaw and raise the back of the tongue to touch the soft palate above at the back of the mouth to block the air. Then lower the tongue and release the air.

/g/ is voiced, which means if you touch your neck while you say /g/, you can feel your vocal cords vibrate.

However, /k/ is unvoiced, which means you can’t feel a vibration in your neck. Saying /k/ also releases more air than /g/.

To learn how to pronounce /g/ and /k/ clearly at the beginning of words and sometimes in the middle, go to the Resources page to watch helpful videos.

When ESL learners have trouble making a sound, the problem is either how you think of it or how you move your mouth. Everyone can make any sound in any language–it’s just a matter of changing your perception and your muscles.

Therefore, it’s important to practice with visual examples and practice a lot to train your brain and mouth to make the sound accurately.

 

Practice: Identify the words and sentences said in this interactive presentation.

 

Practice: Listen to these lines from the conversation, especially the stop consonants, and practice them yourself.

  1. Raj is a security guard at the hospital.
  2. We’re all a bunch of workaholics.
  3. I love green tea, and it usually perks me up.
  4. I watch stupid YouTube videos or play word games.
  5. That means I don’t need to worry about getting hungry too soon.
  6. When I head over to the kitchen, the first thing I always do is put water in the kettle to make tea.
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