Articulatory phonetics is considered as that phonetics division where the understanding of speech sound production is based on physiological structures of man. In the context of articulatory phonetics, acoustic energy productions result in speech sounds, and an example of the speech sound is the consonant. In fact, the consonant is considered as one of the most basic of speech sounds where a vowel and a syllable come together in order to create the sound. This speech sound is verbalized either with a finish or an incomplete conclusion of vocal tract. The limiting of the position of the tongue, or the teeth and the lips is what results in the sounding of the consonants.
Some of the consonants being sounded are represented as /b/ is considered the voiced, /p/is the unvoiced, /t/ is the plosives, /f/ are fricatives and /m/ is the nasal. There are 16 consonants symbols as represented in the English language such as /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, /s/, /z/, /m/, /n/, /h/, /l/, /r/ and /w/. There are identified another eight consonant symbols that make use of other language letters here. Consider the ones such as /ð/ which appears in the case of they, or the consonant used for yellow /j/ yellow, the one that was used for mouth /θ/, the one used for she /ʃ/, /ʒ/ whihc is the consonant used to pronounce massage, /ŋ/ ring, /tʃ/ chip and /dʒ/ january.
In the English language, as many as 15 phonemes are identified and these phonemes are not identified in the Mandarin language. The phonemes are /b/, /ɡ/, /d/, /v/, /θ/, /ð/, /z/, /s/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /h/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/, /r/, /j/. The Chinese language person who wants to learn English faces many difficulties because of these phonemes, and the nature of it will be presented in this work. Voiceless versions for Chinese learners are present but the voicing of the consonant in English is not. Key differences are noticed in the case of English phonemes such as /b/ and /p/ with respect to the aspiration and voicing elements. These are voiceless in Mandarin. It is hence noted that there are some major differences when it comes to the placement and forms of articulation of English and Mandarin (Chen, Dell, and Chen, 2007).
The front nasal /n/ is observed to exist both in the case of English and Mandarin. However, it is also assessed that in the case of Mandarin, the speakers might not be able to easily differentiate or identify the phonemes that use like /n/ from /l/. This situation especially applies when the person speaks Mandarin and is native of the Southern China region. This is an interesting difference noted in the case of speakers based on the geography of where they originate. Some more aspects of distinction are not clear when it comes to /n/ & /l/. For example, when speaking English, these speakers might inadvertently change, I’m sorry, I don’t know /nəʊ/ to saying I don’t low /ləʊ/.
As researchers Swan & Smith (2001) argue, the phonemes /θ/ and /ð/ do not occur in the case of Chinese. Such phoneme combinations like /t/, /f/ or /s/ or /ð/ by /d/ or /z/ might act as replacement for /θ/ (Swan & Smith, 2001). In the context of teaching experiences where students made use of these phonemes, it was often identified that students had a problem with pronouncing “three”. Students often ended up confusing and mixing it with the word ‘free’. This was a confusion seen often in students.