from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Places of articulation: 1. exolabial 2. endolabial 3. dental 4. alveolar 5. postalveolar 6. prepalatal 7. palatal 8. velar 9. uvular 10. pharyngeal 11. glottal 12. epiglottal 13. radical 14. posterodorsal 15. anterodorsal 16. laminal 17. apical 18. sublaminal

Under a consonant (from latin [litera / littera] consonans , mitlautender [letter] ' to con , with' and sonare Ting ' ; also consonant , consonant or Mitstimmer ) is defined as a volume of that articulation includes a narrowing of the vocal tract, so that the breathing air flow is completely or partially blocked and audible turbulence (air eddies) occurs.

The consonants of the Germans are divided into the group of obstruents ( plosives , fricatives , affricates ) and the group of sonorants ( Liquide / Lateral , nasal ), comes to the semi-vowel or Halbkonsonant / ⁠ j ⁠ / .


Speech sounds consist of air pressure waves emitted from the oral and nasal cavities . The breath that is forced through the vocal cords causes them to start vibrating. The vibrations become a keynote that is shaped and amplified by the oral and nasal canals or other anatomical features. The more air you breathe through your vocal folds , the louder the sound. The different positions of the tongue and lips allow different sounds to be formed. The opening and closing of the vocal cords create a periodic vibration. The length of a cycle depends on the length and tension of the vocal cords as well as the air pressure generated by the respiratory muscles and lungs. Consonants are sounds that overcome obstacles; they can be generated without using the voice ( voiceless ) or with vocalization ( voiced ). Consonants are formed by interrupting or narrowing the exhaled air at one of the points of articulation such as the roof of the mouth, lips, teeth or the obstacles are formed by the articulators mentioned. The tongue is one of the most flexible articulators.

Vowels in the sonagram differ from consonants mainly in their clear formant structure . This is because the sound, the articulation of which leads to a consonant, is created by a narrowing of the vocal tract, so that the breathing air flow is completely or partially blocked and audible turbulence (air eddies, the noise sounds) occurs. The tendency shows the following: Vowels are more likely to be in a lower frequency range, the consonants in a higher frequency range. Consonants are described by three articulatory properties: voicing, place of articulation, and type of articulation.

  • Voting participation ( voiced or unvoiced )
  • Articulation place of a consonant describes where its articulatory narrow point can be found, i.e. where an articulator approaches an articulation point.
  • Articulation type , of a consonant, indicates what kind of (functional) constriction is formed or how the breath flows past it.
designation Articulator Articulation place or place
Bilabial bottom lip Upper lip
Labiodental bottom lip upper incisors
Dental Tongue sheet upper incisors
Alveolar Tip of tongue Dental dam
Postalveolar Tongue sheet Hard palate
Retroflex Tip of tongue Hard palate
Palatal Back of the tongue Hard palate
Velar Back of the tongue soft palate
Uvular Back of the tongue Suppositories
Pharyngeal Tongue root Pharynx wall
Glottal vocal cords vocal cords

Articulation type description
Plosive A total oral seal, a tight constriction in the mouth, is suddenly released.
Fricative The breathing air flow is narrowed so that friction noises arise.
nasal A lowered velum and total oral occlusion cause the airflow to pass through the nasal cavity.
Approximant (central) The constriction is so wide open that no friction noises occur. Breathing air escapes centrally instead of on the tongue.
Approximant (lateral) The constriction is so wide open that no friction noises occur. Breathing air escapes on the tongue sides instead of centrally.
Vibrant A rapid succession of oral occlusions is released.
Beaten A short total oral seal is released once.
Lateral fricative A constriction generating friction noise is formed centrally. The air escapes on the sides of the tongue.


Abbreviations: stl. = Voiceless, sth. = Voiced

Pulmonary consonants
according to IPA (2005)
bilabial labio-
dental alveolar post-
retroflex palatal velar uvular phase-
stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth.
Plosives p b t d ʈ ɖ c ɟ k ɡ q ɢ ʔ
Nasals m ɱ n ɳ ɲ ŋ ɴ
Vibrants ʙ r ʀ
Taps / flaps ɾ ɽ
Fricatives ɸ β f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ ç ʝ x ɣ χ ʁ H ʕ H ɦ
lateral fricatives ɬ ɮ
Approximants ʋ ɹ ɻ j w ¹
lateral approximants l ɭ ʎ ʟ
¹ The labialised variant [ w ] was inserted here as a voiced velar approximant ( half vowel ) instead of the non-labialised variant [ ɰ ].
Non-pulmonary consonants bilabial labio-
dental alveolar alveolar-lateral alveolo-
retroflex palatal velar uvular
Clicks ʘ ǀ ǃ ǁ ǂ ǃ˞
Implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ ʛ
Ejectives Ejective plosives t̪ʼ ʈʼ k '
Ejective fricatives ɸʼ θʼ ɬʼ ɕʼ ʃʼ ʂʼ çʼ χʼ
Ejective Affricates t͡θʼ t͡sʼ t͡ɬʼ t͡ɕʼ t͡ʃʼ ʈ͡ʂʼ c͡çʼ k͡xʼ q͡χʼ

For example, can be a / ⁠ m ⁠ / as in Grandma according to these criteria as a voiced bilabial nasal characterize.

In addition, one can classify consonants according to their organs of articulation , i.e. the movable body part that approaches the respective articulation location during sound formation. For example, when forming / ⁠ k ⁠ / in card back of the tongue (lat. Dorsum ) of the closure with the velum is why it as dorsal According designated.

Considered under acoustic-auditory criteria, consonants differ from vowels in the degree of their sonority. Sonority is the volume of sound, i.e. the different acoustic range of the sounds.

Since every syllable has a sound whose sonority exceeds that of its neighboring sounds, vowels have a greater sonic volume than consonants. The consonants therefore have certain positions in the syllable structure, generally at the beginning and end of the syllable, i.e. consonants are usually not syllable carriers.

Exceptions to this, however, are the sonorants: approximants (vowels in actually consonantic position, for example young / jʊŋ / but phonetically [ i̯ʊŋ ]) and nasal and lateral consonants (consonants as sonority maximum in syllable rhymes such as in Matten [ matn̩ ]).

Consonants in German

The German language includes the following consonants:

example Articulation
[p] paper bilabial Plosive unvoiced
[b] but bilabial Plosive voiced
[m] mother bilabial nasal voiced
[f] zeal labiodental Fricative unvoiced
[v] water labiodental Fricative voiced
[t] automobile alveolar Plosive unvoiced
[s] kiss alveolar Fricative unvoiced
[d] you alveolar Plosive voiced
[n] No alveolar nasal voiced
[z] son alveolar Fricative voiced
[l] love alveolar lateral
[ʃ] beautiful postalveolar Fricative unvoiced
[ç] i
palatal Fricative unvoiced
[j] Yes palatal Approximant voiced
[k] child velar Plosive unvoiced
[x] / [χ] book velar / uvular Fricative unvoiced
[G] Well velar Plosive voiced
[ŋ] long velar nasal voiced
[ʁ] red uvular Fricative voiced
[ʔ] note glottal Plosive unvoiced
[H] hand glottal Fricative unvoiced

By foreign words , other consonants enter such into German occasionally. B. [ʒ] ( garage ).

Consonant letters

Consonants are also commonly understood to be the letters that represent such sounds. In order to avoid the widespread confusion or equation of sounds and letters, it makes sense to use the term consonant letters .

In German, they usually correspond to the letters: B , C , D , F , G , H , J , K , L , M , N , P , Q , R , S , , T , V , W , X , Z .

They are the vowel letters (Vokalgraphemen / Kerngraphemen) A , Ä , E , I , O , E , U , Ü , Y opposite.

German words with the longest consonant letter sequences (words that are listed in common dictionaries): Angstschweiß (six consonant phonemes or sounds in a row, which are represented with eight consonant letters) or doctor's practice (maximum six (rhotic and Z for two) with five ).

Writing systems that consist exclusively or mainly of consonant letters are called consonant writing .


  • Diana Šileikaitė-Kaishauri: Introduction to the phonetics and phonology of German. Vilniaus universitetas, 2015, ISBN 978-609-459-479-3 , excerpt 6. The system of German consonants. Pp. 293-317 [3]

Web links

Wiktionary: Consonant (noun)  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: consonant (adjective)  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • What are consonants? (Video)
  • Ralf Vogel: Phonetics & Phonology. (Hall, Chapters 1.1 - 1.5; Clark & ​​Yallop, Chapter 2 & 3), WS 2007/2008, Bielefeld University [4]

Notes and individual references

  1. to Phonetic Basics. Online tutorial 2007, TU Berlin Faculty I Institute for Language and Communication [1]
  2. to Phonetic Basics. Online tutorial 2007, TU Berlin Faculty I Institute for Language and Communication [2]
  3. Dialectal other forms are common. See R .