TOEFL iBT Pronunciation: Do You Know How to Pronounce the [p] and [b] Consonant Sounds?

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Having clear pronunciation will help you to score high on the TOEFL iBT, and most importantly, will help to to be intelligible to others whether they be professional, academic, or personal acquaintances. However, due to language differences between your language and English, it is natural for you to have some problems with pronunciation. One such problem could be distinguishing between the [p] and [b] sounds.

For example, if you pronounce the word “pit” as “bit,” you have created a different word entirely, so you will have to make sure that you practice regularly pronouncing these two sounds as separate, meaningfully distinctive sounds.

Pronunciation is so important to the TOEFL iBT speaking section that I include a one hour monthly lesson on this topic in my monthly TOEFL iBT Newsletter (Like the other TOEFL iBT lessons, the topic changes each month!). As you know, if you want to score high on the TOEFL iBT speaking tasks, you will need to have clear pronunciation with the [p] and [b] sounds.  If you need pronunciation practice, please consider subscribing to my monthly TOEFL iBT Newsletter.

Articulation tip for the [p] sound:

Like the [b], the [p] is a bilabial stop consonant.

Make this sound WITHOUT vibration of the vocal folds. For example, when you say [p], place your index and your middle finger on your throat. You should not feel any vibration of the vocal folds when you produce this sound.

More airflow than the [b] is pushed though the vocal tract when the [p] is produced. For example, take a small piece of paper, place it in front of your lips, and then say the word ‘pop.’ The airflow released from your mouth should cause the paper to flap as if a stiff wind were blowing against it.

Examples: pet, tip, supple

Articulation tip for the [b] sound:

Like the [p], the [b] is a bilabial stop consonant.

Make this sound WITH vibration of the vocal folds. For example, when you say [b], place your index and your middle finger on your throat. You should feel vibration of the vocal folds when you produce this sound.

Less airflow than the [p] is pushed though the vocal tract when the [b] is produced. For example, take a small piece of paper, place it in front of your lips, and then say the word ‘bag.’ The relatively minimal airflow released from your mouth should not cause the paper to move in any way.

Examples: bet, tab, bubble

For more information, go here: http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

 

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