Consonants are divided into many categories by phoneticians, but we need not concern ourselves with most of them. Picking the correct consonant is very easy if you pay attention to just two categories: voiced and unvoiced. A voiced consonant is made with the vocal cords vibrating, and an unvoiced one is made when the vocal cords are silent. Sometimes English uses the same letter combinations to represent both. Compare the th in thin with the th in then. Notice that the first is made with air rushing between the tongue and upper teeth. In the second, the vocal cords are vibrating also. The voiced th phoneme is DH and the unvoiced one is TH. Therefore, thin is phonetically spelled as THIHN while the word then is spelled DHEHN. A sound that is particularly subject to mistakes is voiced and unvoiced S, phonemes Z and S, respectively. Clearly the word bats ends with an S and the word has ends with a Z. But, how do you spell close? If you say "What time do you close?", you spell it with a Z, and if you are saying "I love to be close to you." you use an S. Another sound that causes some confusion is the r sound. There are two different r-like phonemes in the Narrator alphabet: R under the consonants and ER under the vowels. Use ER if the r sound is the vowel sound in the syllable like in bird, absurd, and flirt. Use the R if the r sound precedes or follows another vowel sound in that syllable as in car, write, and craft.
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