Introduction to Nasal Sounds
What are nasal sounds?
The two major points that beginner ESL/ELL students should understand about nasal sounds are:
- The air is completely blocked from leaving the mouth, and is instead released out through the nose.
- All three nasal sounds are voiced, meaning that the vocal cords vibrate during the creation of the sound.
A subtle aspect of /n/ to be aware of is:
- The /n/ can become 'syllabic' on unstressed syllables.
The /n/ as a syllabic consonant
A syllabic consonant is a consonant sound that becomes the base sound of a syllable (meaning that there is no vowel sound included in the syllable). On an unstressed syllable, the /n/ can become syllabic. For instance, there is no vowel sound in the second syllable of the words 'sudden' or 'golden.'
sudden /'sʌd n/
burden /'bɚ n/