The Consonants of Australian English

The 24 symbols used to represent the consonants of Australian English are the same in both the MD and HCE systems. Note that stops, affricates and fricatives all occur in both voiceless and voiced pairs, while the nasals and approximants are only voiced. In the table below the voiceless consonants are on the left and the voiced consonants are on the right.  The approximants /w/ and /j/ are classed as consonants because they pattern with other consonants phonotactically – for example they appear as the onset of a syllable before a vowel. Acoustically though, approximants are very like some vowels, and for this reason you may find reference to them as ‘semi-vowels’.

1. Oral stops

  /p/ pet
  /t/ tin
  /k/ cot
  /b/ bet
  /d/ din
  /g/ got


2. Affricates

  /tʃ/ chew
  /dʒ/ jew


3. Fricatives

  /f/ fat
  /θ/ ether
  /s/ sue
  /ʃ/ ship
  /h/ have
  /v/ vat
  /ð/ either
  /z/ zoo
  /ʒ/ beige

  4. Nasals (also known as ‘nasal stops’)

  /m/ met
  /n/ net
  /ŋ/ song


5. Approximants

  /w/ wet
  /j/ yet
  /l/ let
  /ɹ/ run