Approximants


English has 3 approximant sounds (as well as lateral approximant /l/):

MOUTH POSITIONS

approximant-positions

What are approximant sounds?

  • They are vowel-like consonant sounds because we don’t block the airflow fully.
  • The /j/ sound is similar in position to the vowel sound /i:/.
  • The /w/ sound is similar in position to the vowel sound /u:/, air is partly blocked at the back of the mouth and with the lips.
  • The /r/ sound involves moving your tongue close to the alveolar ridge (without touching it).

WORDS DRILL

/j/ young, yams, useful, yolk, yacht, yoga, yuck, your, yell
/w/ west, walking, worry, web, would, wood, worst, word
/r/ reply, racy, orange, caravan, radical, raft, wrong, riot

SENTENCE DRILL

/j/ Yonkers youths used to use yellow yaks to ride to Europe.
/w/ One Wednesday last week, I woke up to find Wally walking weirdly.
/r/ Running rings around Rebecca really irritates Ronald.
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