Chapter 3, section [3.1]Several candidate pairs come to mind. Perhaps the first to examine is a voiced/voiceless pair that’s easily susceptible to the same ‘Adam’s apple’ test we applied to /s/ and /z/. How about the pair of ‘th’ phonemes? These
Consonants (2): classificationAnd there are several other pairs: /p/ and /b/; /t/ and /d/; /k/ and /g/:Pairs of consonantsVoicelessVoiced/s//z//f//v//θ//ð// /ʃ/ʒ//ʧ//ʤ//p//b//t//d//k//g/Inall, these contrastshelp tosortsixteen ofour list oftwenty-four consonant phonemes into voiceless/voiced pairs. Theoretically it’s possible to conceive of a language that organised its whole consonant system in terms of such oppositions,butthatdoesn’thappeninEnglish.Youmightliketolookatthe consonantsthatdo not fallneatlyintovoiceless/voicedpairs,andtrytowork out what they have in common, as well as how they differ.The consonants that don’t fall into voiceless/voiced pairs are:/h//h p/ɪ‘hip’/n//n p/ɪ‘nip’/m//met/‘met’/ŋ//s ŋ/ɪ‘sing’/r//r p/ɪ‘rip’/l//lɪp/‘lip’/j//jet/‘yet’/w//w n/ɪ‘win’These are indubitably consonants, and have been exhaustively established as such via their function in minimal pairs and sets. And yet they’re all voiced, with the exception of /h/ (which has no voiced partner). So what gives this group of consonants their identity? What differentiates them and allows them to be consonant phonemes of English?