J, CH, B, P, N Sounds Diagram and Explanation

Sound Pairs: J, CH, B, P, NG and NK

J and CH Sounds

In Unit 1, we are studying Sound Pairs. These are two sounds that are made in about the same position, but with a small difference. T and D, F and V and even the two sounds of TH are sound pairs. Review the Sound Pairs here.

The J Sound: Make the J sound putting your mouth in a forward position with your lips in a relaxed “kissing” position. Your tongue should lightly rest on the roof of the mouth. The tip of your tongue will be on the ridge behind your front teeth. Gently press into this position and release to create the J. 

The CH Sound: Use the same position as above, but make the sound faster and a bit more forcefully. This is a stronger sound.

J and CH as Sound Pairs: These two sounds do not interact. J = J and CH = CH. The difference between these two sounds is minor, though. If you have difficulty making these two sounds distinct, you will probably not need to concern yourself. These sounds are slightly harsh, but not too much so. Remember to keep a gentle flow in your speech.

When G Sounds like J

G and J are not sound pairs, but these two letters do interact. J never sounds like G, but G frequently sounds like J. The -dge ending is always pronounced as a J sound as in bridge and budget. The -age ending also has a J sound, as in stage (there is more on -age in Lesson 22). It also seems that the letters ge are often pronounced je as in generic and generation. However, that is not a perfect rule. Generally, you may need to check the pronunciation when you learn a new word with a G spelling. 

When CH Sounds like K

CH has a K sound in quite a few words, as in chemical, charisma, and headache. There is no good spelling rule for this. If you have doubts about a word with CH, you should check the pronunciation.

B and P Sounds

The B Sound: Place your lips together lightly and open the jaw to release.

The P Sound: Place your lips together and open your jaw quickly. Let the air out. P is similar to K because the release of air is part of the sound. P is certainly different from B, but it is not a harsh sound. If you struggle to differentiate B and P, make sure to have that slight bit of air on your P sounds. It might help to imagine a small H after the P. 

B and P as Sound Pairs: B and P do not interact. B = B and P = P.

NG and NK Sounds

Firstly, G and K are sound pairs. The back of the tongue is pressed against the upper back of the mouth. For G, press and release slowly. K, press and release quickly and push air out. 

Yet NG is a little different. It is almost the same position as G, but a little more of the back of the tongue is pressed. This forces the sound to come out through the nose. And there is no press-release. Gently move the tongue down after the sound–there should not be a G at the end of this sound. 

Many people are not accustomed to the NG. If it is difficult for you, try this experiment. Put your hand on a table. Now press down and lift your hand. Feel that force of movement. Now place your hand on the table. Press it against the table. Stop pressing. Lift it up. This is the different between G and NG. With G, there is a forceful movement and with NG, there is a simple release.

NK is exactly the opposite. Use the same position as NG, but create the forceful movement and let air out. There should be a K at the end of this sound. 

NG and NK as Sound Pairs — These two spellings do not interact. NG = NG. NK = NK.

To practice the N sound and the difference between L and N, try these word charts.
750 Business WordsSound Pairs Main Page
* http://www.speakmethod.com is a part of I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, which holds the copyright to all materials. Subscribers may print images and pages for individual use, but not for commercial use or distribution. *

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