Word Smart: Improve Pronunciation with Phonetics II

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In the formation of consonants, the airstream through the vocal tract is obstructed in some way. Some of the possible places of articulation are indicated by the arrows going from one of the lower articulators to one of the upper articulators in Figure 1. The principal terms that are required in the description of English  articulation, and the structures of the vocal tract that they involve are: bilabial, the two lips; dental, tongue tip or blade and the upper front teeth; alveolar, tongue tip or blade and the teeth ridge; retroflex, tongue tip and the back part of the teeth ridge; palato-alveolar, tongue blade and the back part of the teeth ridge; palatal, front of tongue and hard palate; and velar, back of tongue and soft palate.

The additional places of articulation shown in Figure 1 are required in the description of other languages. Note that the terms for the various places of articulation denote both the portion of the lower articulators (i.e., lower lip and tongue) and the portion of the upper articulatory structures that are involved. Thus velar denotes a sound in which the back of the tongue and the soft palate are involved, and retroflex implies a sound involving the tip of the tongue and the back part of the alveolar ridge. If it is necessary to distinguish between sounds made with the tip of the tongue and those made with the blade.



  • Articulation: The act or manner of uttering a speech sound, especially a consonant.
  • Ridge: The line or edge formed where the two sloping sides of a roof meet at the top.
  • Velar: Pronounced with the back of the tongue near the soft palate, as in k and g in English.


Want to sound like a native speaker? Sign up with your advisor in your branch. Watch the video with your advisor and pronounce it five times and use those words in a sentence past present and in future.


  • Which words are more difficult for you to pronounce? 

Welcome to this activity created by Junior Advisor Mr. Jaime Luna from Reforma Branch. Take note of all the pink words, read the text, watch the video and answer the question in the comment section below.

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