Consonants are sounds where there is obstruction or "blocking" of the airflow caused by your lips (/m/), teeth (/θ/), tongue (/l/), palate (/ŋ/) or even deep down in your larynx (/h/). The two major categories of consonants are voiced and unvoiced consonants.
Voiced consonants make sound using the vibration of your vocal folds in your larynx - the "voice box". You can tell if a consonant is voiced in a couple of ways:
1. Put your finger on your throat when you say it. If you feel vibration, it is voiced.
2. Put your fingers in your ears when you say it. If you can still "hear" the consonant through the vibrations in your neck and head, it is voiced.
Voiced consonants in English:
Unvoiced consonants do not use this vibration. Instead they make sound using the movement of air through your teeth, tongue, lips and other articulators.
Unvoiced consonants in English: