Consonant Pairs on the Phonetic Chart

In this video we are going to be looking at consonant pairs. The consonants are the sounds represented by the symbols in Blue on the Phonetic Chart. In this video we are only going to be looking at the top two rows. These sounds are referred to as Consonant pairs because the sounds can all be put into pairs where both are produced in a very similar way.

Consonant Pairs: /p/ and /b/

The first pair is /p/ and /b/. If you watch carefully when I say the sound, you will see that the shape of my mouth is the same for both sounds; /p/ and /b/.  I use both my lips to stop the flow of air and then release it /p/ and /b/. The only difference is that the /b/ is voiced and the /b/ is aspirated.


Voiced means that the sound starts in my throat and it is produced by the vocal chords. If you feel your throat when you say the sound you should be able to feel some vibration.


The /p/ is not voiced but it is aspirated, this means that when you say the sound a short burst of air will come out of your mouth, you can feel it if you put your hand in front of your mouth.

For more on Voiced and Aspirated sounds, have a look at these links.  You can also click on any of the symbols that appear in this video and you will be taken to a video that looks at that one sound in more detail. Here are some example words for /p/ and /b/:

  • pat
  • park
  • pair
  • bat
  • bark
  • bear

Consonant Pairs: /t/ and /d/

The second pair is /t/ and /d/. Again if you look at my mouth you won’t see any difference between the sounds.

The sounds are produced by stopping the flow of air with the tongue just behind the teeth and then releasing it. But /d/ is voiced and /t/ is aspirated. Lets look at some example words:

  • Time
  • Train
  • To
  • Dime
  • Drain
  • Do

Consonant Pairs: /ʧ/ and /ʤ/

The third pair is /ʧ/ and /ʤ/. These sounds are very similar to the /t/ and /d/ but they are longer and the sound is produced by pushing air over the tongue and through the teeth. The /ʤ/ is voiced and the /ʧ/ is aspirated. As in the words:

  • Choke
  • batch
  • rich
  • Joke
  • badge
  • Ridge

Consonant Pairs: /k/ and /g/

The next pair is /k/ and /g/. These sounds are produced by stopping and releasing air flow with the back of the tongue almost at the top of your throat. /g/ is voiced and /k/ is aspirated. Lets look at some examples:

  • came
  • card
  • cap
  • game
  • guard
  • gap

Consonant Pairs: /f/ and /v/

Then we have /f/ and /v/. Now we are constricting airflow between the bottom lip and the upper teeth. So to make this sound correctly your bottom lip needs to touch your upper teeth. /v/ is voiced and /f/ is aspirated. Here are some examples:

  • fan
  • ferry
  • leaf
  • van
  • very
  • leave

Consonant Pairs: /θ/ and /ð/

Then we have /θ/ and /ð/. With these sounds you need to stick your tongue out a little bit, because the sound is made by the air flow being directed through the top teeth with the tongue. /ð/ is voiced and /θ/ is aspirated. Here are some examples:

  • think
  • through
  • something
  • the
  • another
  • within

Consonant Pairs: /s/ and /z/

And then it’s /s/ and /z/. With these sounds, air is pushed over our tongue and through our teeth. /z/ is voiced.

  • ice
  • last
  • house (n.)
  • eyes
  • maize
  • house (v.)

Consonant Pairs: /ʃ/ and /ʒ/

And finally /ʃ/ and /ʒ/. Again we are pushing air through our teeth but our lips are more rounded and our tongue is lower in our mouth so the air flow is less intense.

  • She
  • Education
  • information
  • television
  • confusion
  • measure

So those are the consonant pairs. Remember you can see our other videos on the other sounds as well as videos on other aspects of phonetics by clicking on these links.

Thanks for watching. Check out the video description for links to our website where you can find free and premium material related to this video. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and skype. If you have any questions or comments or would like to arrange online classes please get in touch.


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