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Help with phonics pronunciation....


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So dh pointed this out to me, and I have seen it in some phonics books as well, such as OPGTR.

When I pronounce the sound of B I am saying "buh", D is "duh", p is "puh" and so on....and I cannot seem to figure out the way to say these consonants without adding a vowel sound of some sort behind them!

I don't seem to see this issue with F, R, S...what is it?

Is there a way to train/teach myself to do it right? Please tell me I'm not alone! My worst fear right now is that I am entirely ill-equipped to teach dd : O

Edited by daughterofsarah77
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Of course you're not alone! There is a reason you say 'buh' and 'duh'.


The /b/, /d/ and /g/ are called voiced plosives or stops. A plosive is a consonant in which the air flow is stopped and pressure is built up in order to make the sound. But it is because these are 'voiced' plosives that you hear the vowel sound after it; you have to use your vocal cords in order to make the sound. You don't say 'tuh', 'puh', etc. because these are voiceless plosives; you can make the sound /t/ without exercising your vocal cords. A /p/ has the same place of articulation as a /b/ except the /p/ is voiceless and the /b/ is voiced. So, you can try to shorten the vowel sound on the end of the /b/ but it is near to impossible to make a /b/ sound without some sort of vowel sound on the end just due to the fact that a /b/ is a voiced plosive. (Of course there are other voiced sounds, like /r/ or /v/, but those are not plosives.)


At least that's what I remember from my graduate phonetics course. ;) I'm sure there are others here who are more knowledgeable than I!

(And if my reply makes ANY kind of sense I'll be surprised!! LOL!)

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I have pictures!


Consonant sounds are approximations, you can't say them without saying a bit of a vowel, except for a few like m and n.


Vowel sounds are true sounds, syllables are true sounds. That's one reason Webster's Speller is so powerful, it starts with syllables.


On my dyslexia page, I show pictures of sounds, comparing letter sound approximations to words and comparing syllables to words. (scroll down to 1/3 of the way down the page, "the atomic nature of syllables," after a few paragraphs of explanation there are pictures (waveforms and spectrograms):




This is also why I recommend Webster's Speller to anyone with speech or language problems.


Edit: you can work on saying less of an "uh" sound to make a closer approximation, but it will still be an approximation.

Edited by ElizabethB
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Thanks ladies!

dh thinks it musst be confusing for the learner, when sounding out a word. I can't say I disagree that "duh" "aw" guh" for "dog" would be confusing when you are trying to go from the sounding out to saying the actual word.

I will check out your site Elizabeth, and maybe I should consider Webster (again!). I have a history of speech problems, and my initial reaction to this was to think that this was why I was having this issue...thankfully it does not appear so. But my dd was recently graduated from speech therapy, and I want to do it right, so that she does not wind up with spelling/reading issues as a result of the speech issue. Ugh!

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