1. Resonant sounds 

A. Definition of resonant sounds - in phonetics and phonology, a sonorant or resonant is a speech sound that is produced with continuous, non-turbulent airflow in the vocal tract (
a sound produced with the vocal cords so positioned that spontaneous voicing is possible); these are the manners of articulation that are most often voiced in the world's languages. Vowels are sonorants, as are consonants like /m/ and /l/: approximantsnasalsflaps or taps, and most trills (a vowel, a glide, or a liquid or nasal consonant).

In older usage, only the term resonant was used with this meaning, and sonorant was a narrower term, referring to all resonants except vowels and semivowels.

B. Resonant types - whereas obstruents (fricative or plosive speech sound) are frequently voiceless, sonorants are almost always voiced. A typical sonorant consonant inventory found in many languages comprises the following: two nasals /m/, /n/, two semivowels /w/, /j/, and two liquids /l/, /r/.
In the sonority hierarchy, all sounds higher than fricatives are sonorants. They can therefore form the nucleus of a syllable in languages that place that distinction at that level of sonority.

Sonorants contrast with obstruents, which do stop or cause turbulence in the airflow. The latter group includes fricatives and stops (for example, /s/ and /t/).
Among consonants pronounced in the back in the mouth or in the throat, the distinction between an approximant and a voiced fricative is so blurred that no language is known to contrast them. Thus, uvularpharyngeal, and glottal fricatives never contrast with approximants.

Voiceless resonants - voiceless resonants are rare; they occur as phonemes in only about 5 percent of the world's languagesVoiceless sonorants tend to be extremely quiet and very difficult to recognise even for those people whose language does contain them.
In every case where a voiceless sonorant does occur, there is a contrasting voiced sonorant (i.e. whenever a language contains a phoneme such as /r̥/, it also contains a corresponding voiced phoneme, /r/ in this case).

Voiceless [r̥ l̥ ʍ], and possibly [m̥ n̥], are hypothesized to have occurred in various dialects of Ancient Greek. The Attic dialect of the Classical period likely had [r̥] as the regular allophone of /r/ at the beginning of words, and possibly when doubled inside words. Hence, many English words from Ancient Greek roots have rh initially and rrh medially: rhetoricdiarrhea

Examples: English has the following sonorant consonantal phonemes: /l/, /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /ɹ/, /w/, /j/.

2. Vowel

A. Definition of "vowel" - in phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, with two competing definitions:

1. phonetic definition - a vowel is a sound pronounced with an open vocal tract, so that the tongue does not touch the lips, teeth, or roof of the mouth, such as the English "ah" /ɑː/ or "oh"/oʊ/. This contrasts with consonants, such as the English "sh" [ʃː], which have a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract. 

2. phonological definition - a vowel is defined as syllabic, the sound that forms the peak of a syllable. A phonetically equivalent but non-syllabic sound is a semivowel

The word vowel comes from the Latin word vocalis, meaning "vocal" ("relating to voice"). In English, the word vowel is commonly used to mean both vowel sounds and the written symbols that represent them. 

The phonetic definition of "vowel" (a sound produced with no constriction in the vocal tract) does not always match the phonological definition (a sound that forms the peak of a syllable). The approximants [j] and [w] illustrate this: both are produced without much of a constriction in the vocal tract (so phonetically they seem to be vowel-like), but they occur at the onset of syllables (e.g. in "yet" and "wet") (which suggests that phonologically they are consonants). A similar debate arises over whether a word like bird in a rhotic dialect (denoting a dialect or variety of English) has an r-colored vowel /ɝ/ or a syllabic consonant /ɹ̩/.

B. Vowel articulation - this conception of vowel articulation has been known to be inaccurate since 1928. Peter Ladefoged has said that "early phoneticians... thought they were describing the highest point of the tongue, but they were not. They were actually describing formant frequencies.“ The IPA Handbook concedes that "the vowel quadrilateral must be regarded as an abstraction and not a direct mapping of tongue position.“

Nonetheless, the concept that vowel qualities are determined primarily by tongue position and lip rounding continues to be used in pedagogy, as it provides an intuitive explanation of how vowels are distinguished. 

X-rays of Daniel Jones' [i, u, a, ɑ].

The original vowel quadrilateral, from Jones' articulation. The vowel trapezoid of the modern IPA is a simplified rendition of this diagram. The bullets are the cardinal vowel points. (A parallel diagram covers the front and central rounded and back unrounded vowels.) The cells indicate the ranges of articulation that could reasonably be transcribed with those cardinal vowel letters, [i, e, ɛ, a, ɑ, ɔ, o, u, ɨ], and non-cardinal [ə]. If a language distinguishes fewer than these vowel qualities, [e, ɛ] could be merged to [e], [o, ɔ] to [o], [a, ɑ] to [a], etc. If a language distinguishes more, [ɪ] could be added where the ranges of [i, e, ɨ, ə] intersect, [ʊ] where [u, o, ɨ, ə] intersect, and [ɐ] where [ɛ, ɔ, a, ɑ, ə]  intersect.

The traditional view of vowel production, reflected for example in the terminology and presentation of the International Phonetic Alphabet, is one of articulatory features that determine a vowel's quality as distinguishing it from other vowels. Daniel Jones developed the cardinal vowel system to describe vowels in terms of the features of tongue height (vertical dimension), tongue backness (horizontal dimension) and roundedness (lip articulation). These three parameters are indicated in the schematic quadrilateral IPA vowel diagram. There are additional features of vowel quality, such as the velum position (nasality), type of vocal fold vibration (phonation), and tongue root position.

Pronunciation of English vowels in comparison with Bulgarian vowels:
1. There are 20 vowel phonemes in English and six in Bulgarian.
2. The English vowels include monophtongs and diphtongs whereas Bulgarian vowels avoid linking together. They prefer linking consonants.
3. According to the position of the tongue in Bulgarian we have only front and back vowels. There are no close and open vowels.
4. There are rounded vowels in both languages but differ in the degree of lip-rounding. The Bulgarian rounded vowel phonemes are articulated with considerable lip-rounding and lip-protrusion whereas the English counterparts are pronounced with lips rounded but very little protrusion.
5. Bulgarian vowels are not differentiated as long and short. There is only one [u] long vowel. 
6. In English we have two: long and short [i], qualitative difference between them as in ship and sheep.

C. Classification of the vowels - the first matter to consider is the shape and position of the tongue. We describe two things: firstly, the vertical distance between the upper surface of the tongue and the palate, and secondly the part of the tongue, between front and back, which is raised highest. Let us look at some examples:

Tongue height - make a vowel like the i: in the English word "see" and look in a mirror - the tongue is held up close to the roof of the mouth. Now make an ae vowel (as in the word "cat") and notice how the distance between the surface of the tongue and the roof of the mouth is now much greater. The difference of between i: and ae is a difference of tongue height, and we would describe i: as a relatively [close] vowel and ae as a relatively [open] vowel.

Tongue height can be changed by moving the tongue up or down, or moving the lower jaw up or down. 

The shape of the tongue - in making the two vowels described above. it is the front part of the tongue that is raised. We could therefore describe i: and ae as comparatively [front] vowels. By changing the shape of the tongue we can produce vowels in which a different part of the tongue is the highest point. A vowel in which the back of the tongue is the highest point is called a back vowel. If you make the vowel in the word "calm", which we write phonetically as a:, you can see that the back of the tongue is raised. Compare this with ae in front of a mirror - ae is a [front] vowel and a: is a [back] vowel. 
The vowel in "too" (u:) is also a comparatively back vowel, but compared with a: it is close.

So now we have seen how four vowels differ from each other and we could show this in a simple table or diagram. However, this diagram is rather inaccurate because phoneticians need a very accurate way of classifying vowels, and have developed a set of vowels, arranged in a standard close-open, front-back diagram:

Cardinal vowels - the standard reference system of vowels is called a system of cardinal vowels. If you learn the cardinal vowels, you are not learning to make English sounds, but you are learning about the range of vowels that the human vocal apparatus can make, and also learning a useful way of describing, classifying and comparing vowels. It is traditional to locate cardinal on a four-sided figure (quadrilateral) designed and recommended by the International Phonetic Association. The vowels in this figure are the so-called primary cardinal vowels; these are the vowels that are most familiar to the speakers of most European languages, and there are and other cardinal vowels (secondary cardinal vowels) that sound less familiar.
It is useful to think of the cardinal vowel framework like a map of an area of country that you are interested in. When you are familiar with extreme vowels (marked with bullets on the diagram), you have learned a way of describing, classifying and comparing vowels. For example, we can say that the English vowel ae (the vowel in "cat") is not as open as cardinal vowel  a

Tongue positions for i:

We have now looked at how we can classify vowels according to their tongue height and their frontness or backness. There is another important variable of vowel quality and that is lip- rounding.

Lip-rounding - although the lips can have many different shapes and positions, we will at this stage consider only three possibilities. These are:

- Rounde - where the corners of the lips are brought towards each other and the lips pushed forwards. This is most clearly seen in cardinal vowel u
- Spread - with the corners of the lips moved away from each other, as for a smile. This is most clearly seen in cardinal vowel i
- Neutral - where the lips are not noticeably rounded or spread. The noise most English people make when they are hesitating (written "er") has neutral lip position.

D. English long and short vowels - English has a large number of vowel sounds. 

Short vowels - the symbols for these short vowels are:

Short vowels are only relatively short - vowels can have quite different lengths in different contexts. Each short vowel is described in relation to the cardinal vowels:

1. [i] (example words: bit, pin, fish)the diagram shows that, though this vowel is in the close front area, compared with cardinal vowel and is more open, and nearer in to the centre. The lips are slightly spread.

2. [e] (example words: bet, men, yes) - this is a front vowel between cardinal vowels no.2 and no. 3. The lips are slightly spread.

3. [ae] (example word: bat, man, gas) - this vowel is front, but not quite as open as cardinal vowel no.4. The lips are slightly spread.

4. [^] (but, some, rush) - this is a central vowel, and the diagram shows that it is more open than the open-mid tongue height. The lip position is neutral.

5. [a] (pot, gone, cross) - this vowel is not quite fully back, and between open-mid and open in tongue height. The lips are slightly rounded

6. [u] (put, pull, push) - the nearest cardinal vowel is no. 8, but it can be seen that this vowel is more open and nearer to central. The lips are rounded.

Long vowels - these are the vowels which tend to be longer than the short vowels in similar contexts, because the lenght of all English vowel sounds varies very much according to context (such as the type of sound that follows them) and the presence or absence of stress. To remind you that these vowels tend to be long, the symbols consist of one vowel symbol plus a lenght-mark made of two dots :.

Each long vowel is described in relation to the cardinal vowels:

1. [i:] (beat, mean, peace) - this vowel is nearer to cardinal vowel no.1 because is more close and front than the short i vowel. Although the tongue shape is not much different from cardinal vowel no.1, the lips are only slightly spread and this results in a rather different vowel quality.

2. [э] (bird, fern, purse) - this is a central vowel which is well-known in most English accents as a hesitation sound (spelt "er"), but which many foreigners find difficult to copy. The lip position is neutral.

3. [a:] (card, half, pass) - this is an open vowel in the region of cardinal vowel no.5, but not as back as this. The lip position is neutral.

4. [ɔ:] (board, torn, horse) - the tongue height for this vowel is between cardinal vowel no.6 and no.7. This vowel is almost fully back and has quite strong lip-rounding.

5. [u:] (food, soon, loose) - this vowel is not very different from cardinal vowel no.8, but it is not quite so back nor so close, and the lips are only moderately rounded.

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