Letter Sounds

Consonant Sounds

Consonants are the letters which stop or limit the flow of air from the throat in speech. These are the sounds, or phonemes, of single consonants:

  • /b/ sound as in bonfireblackbathtub, and balcony
  • /d/ sound as in dry, draw, design, and duet
  • /f/ sound as in fossil, fail, frame, and fingerprint
  • /g/ sound as in greeting, grill, goose, and grapefruit
  • /h/ sound as in hail, hieroglyphics, hostage, and hit
  • /j/ sound as in magician, syringe, jeep, and message
  • /k/ sound as in key, knock, kangaroo, and kayak
  • /l/ sound as in lizard, learn, lamp, and library
  • /m/ sound as in mug, money, maze, and mechanical
  • /n/ sound as in night, newspaper, nightmare, and noodle
  • /p/ sound as in panda, pie, pen, and potato
  • /r/ sound as in rose, restaurant, run, and reporter
  • /s/ sound as in safe, sunset, sand, and seat
  • /t/ sound as in tile, thermometer, tongue, and toy
  • /v/ sound as in violin, volcano, vaccination, and vote
  • /w/ sound as in waterfall, wagon, windmill, and watch
  • /y/ sound as in yoke, yawn, yacht, and yoga
  • /z/ sound as in zebra, zoo, and zip


The following is a list of vowel sounds, shown along with their diacritical marks:

  • Long a (ā) sound as in apesnailacheexplain, and reindeer
  • Long e (ē) sound as in eatagonyneedlepianist, and electricity
  • Long i (ī) sound as in eyecrytightropetile, and violin
  • Long o (ō) sound as in ohdominoghostpillow, and stethoscope
  • Long u (ū) sound as in yousalutetoothbrushgooseboot, and costume
  • Short a (ă) sound as in attaxianniversarylaboratory, and tackle
  • Short e (ĕ) sound as in elmelevatorjellyfishpentagon, and dentist
  • Short i (ĭ) sound as in itgiftinflatespinach, and cereal
  • Short o (ŏ) sound as in hopcamouflagegaragechopfatherpaw, and binoculars
  • Short u (ŭ) sound as in upcut and subtract
  • Schwa (ə) sound as in aboutitemgallop, and circus