For learners of English, the j, ch and y sounds can prove challenging to pronounce and distinguish, depending on one’s native language. Let’s take a look at how the sounds are different. Keep in mind that in the phonetic alphabet, the j sound appears as/ʤ/, the ch sound is /ʧ/ and the y sound is/j/
To produce the /ʤ/ sound, first press your tongue on the roof of your mouth to stop the airflow between your tongue and the ridge behind your teeth. Then release your tongue slightly to push the air through a narrow gap. This sound is voiced, which means that you vibrate your vocal cords to make the sound.
To produce the /ʧ/, follow the same mouth position as the /ʤ/. In this case, however, do not produce a vibration with your vocal cords. This sound is voiceless.
To produce the /j/ or “y” sound, raise the middle part of the tongue against the centre of your palate without touching it. Open your mouth to produce the “y” sound and the vowel that follows it.
Tip: The /j/ It’s similar to a short /i/ or /ɪ/ quickly followed by a vowel, however your tongue will be closer to the roof of your mouth than when producing the /i/ or /ɪ/.
Tip for Spanish speakers:
This sound is often problematic for Spanish speakers, but it’s essentially the same sound that you hear at the beginning of hielo, hiato or iónico.
Practice with these minimal pairs of the J, CH and Y Sounds :
/ʧ/ /ʤ/ /j/
Cello jello yellow
Cherry Jerry Yari
Che Jay Yay
Ciao Jowl Yow
Chet Jet Yet
Chi Gee Yee
Cho Joe Yo!
Chew Jew You
Cheer Jeer Year
Choke Joke Yoke
To learn more about commonly confused consonant sounds, check out the following articles:
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