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Exploring Vowels and Consonants in English Language

vowels and consonants

Vowels and consonants are the fundamental building blocks of the English language. While we often take them for granted, they play a crucial role in shaping sounds and pronunciation of words. Kids, in particular, should understand these critical aspects of the English language as it will help them develop literacy skills and enhance their comprehension of the language. So, let us dive deep into the fascinating journey to vowels and consonants.

What are Vowels?

Vowels are those letters in which the air passes through the mouth with minimum obstruction and less audible friction while pronouncing it. The letters primarily considered as vowels are "a, e, i, o, and u". However, sometimes "y" is also considered a vowel. As per phonetics, vowels are classified according to the tongue position and lips and how the air is released from the mouth.

When the tongue is arched towards the roof of the mouth, a high vowel is pronounced, such as "U" in rule. On the other hand, when the tongue is flat or low in position, low vowel vowels are pronounced. Similarly, in mid vowels such as "E" in bed, the tongue is positioned at extreme highs and lows.

What are Consonants?

Consonants are alphabets pronounced by the complete or partial restriction of the air. All the letters except the letters (a, e, i, o, u) are considered consonants. Sometimes y is also considered as a consonant. When two consonants are pronounced in succession, it is called a consonant cluster or blend. For example, consonants in the word "dream".

Also, consonants can be silent, such as the letter K before N in "know". Sometimes consonants stop vowels from making a sound, and these consonants are called stop consonants. Most alphabets, such as "B", " D", and "G", are considered stop consonants. For example, the sound of the vowel "i" is stopped in the word "Kit".

Also Read: Birth of Zero and its Impact on Mathematics

Difference between Consonants and Vowels

After getting a brief introduction to consonants and vowels, let us get into their detail to understand the difference between them.

Long vowel sounds and short vowel sounds are the two main categories of vowels. As the name suggests, long vowel sounds are pronounced for a long time. In other words, we can say- it’s the version of the vowel sound but in an extended way. Similarly, short vowel sounds are pronounced for a short time; they require holding the letter for a short time. Words such as elephant, umbrella and apples are short vowel sounds. On the other hand, words such as grapes, boat and kit are long vowel sounds.

As mentioned before, constants come in clusters, so they require more depth when it comes to pronunciation. In the English language, there are 24 consonant sounds and 21 consonant letters. Consonants are pronounced by constricting airflow in different locations. Letters such as p, t and b involve stopping and releasing the air while saying them. Remember that pronouncing consonants needs more practice than vowels, so you need to use different ways to teach your little ones how to say them.

Final words

Consonants and vowels play an essential role in learning the English language. So, you need to demonstrate how different words are pronounced to your kids. Once they understand and learn how different consonants and vowels are said, they will be more proficient in reading, writing and communicating in English.