a) Place of articulation

Once the air has passed through the larynx, it comes up and out through the mouth and/or the nose. Most consonant sounds are produced by using the tongue and other parts of the mouth to constrict, in some way, the shape of the oral cavity through which the air is passing. The terms used to describe many sounds are those which denote the place of articulation of the sound: that is, the location inside the mouth at which the constriction takes place.

What we need is a slice of head. If you crack a head right down the middle, you will be able to see which parts of the oral cavity are crucially involved in speech production. To describe the place of articulation of most consonant sounds, we can start at the front of the mouth and work back. We can also keep the voiced–voiceless distinction in mind and begin using the symbols of the phonetic alphabet for specific sounds. These symbols will be enclosed within square brackets [ ].

In relation to place of articulation we have:
These are sounds formed using both (= bi) upper and lower lips (= labia). The initial sounds in the words pat, bat and mat are all bilabials. They are represented by the symbols [p], which is voiceless, and [b] and [m], which are voiced.We can also describe the [w] sound found at the beginning of way, walk and world as a bilabial.
These are sounds formed with the upper teeth and the lower lip. The initial sounds of the words fat and vat and the final sounds in the words safe and save are labiodentals. They are represented by the symbols [f], which is voiceless, and [v], which is voiced. Notice that the final sound in the word cough, and the initial sound in photo, despite the spelling differences, are both pronounced as [f].
These sounds are formed with the tongue tip behind the upper front teeth. The initial sound of thin and the final sound of bath are both voiceless dentals. The symbol used for this sound is [θ], usually referred to as ‘theta’. It is the symbol you would use for the first and last sounds in the phrase three teeth.
The voiced dental is represented by the symbol [d], usually called ‘eth’. This sound is found in the pronunciation of the initial sound of common words like the, there, then and thus. It is also the middle consonant sound in feather and the final sound of bathe.
The term ‘interdentals’ is sometimes used for these consonants when they are pronounced with the tongue tip between (= inter) the upper and lower teeth.
These are sounds formed with the front part of the tongue on the alveolar ridge, which is the rough, bony ridge immediately behind and above the upper teeth. The initial sounds in top, dip, sit, zoo and nut are all alveolars. The symbols for these sounds are easy to remember – [t], [d], [s], [z], [n]. Of these, [t] and [s] are voiceless whereas [d], [z] and [n] are voiced.
It may be clear that the final sounds of the words bus and buzz have to be [s] and [z] respectively, but what about the final sound of the word raise? The spelling is misleading because the final sound in this word is voiced and so must be represented by [z]. Notice also that despite the different spelling of knot and not, both of these words are pronounced with [n] as the initial sound.
Other alveolars are the [l] sound found at the beginning of words such as lap and lit, and the [r] sound at the beginning of right and write.
If you feel back behind the alveolar ridge, you should find a hard part in the roof of your mouth. This is called the hard palate or just the palate. Sounds which are produced with the tongue and the palate are called palatals (or alveopalatals). Examples of palatals are the initial sounds in the words shout and child, which are both voiceless. The sh sound is represented as [ʃ] and the ch sound is represented as [tʃ]. So, the word shoe-brush begins and ends with the voiceless palatal sound [ʃ] and the word church begins and ends with the other voiceless palatal sound [tʃ].
One of the voiced palatals, represented by the symbol [_], is not very common in English, but can be found as the middle consonant sound inwords like treasure and pleasure, or the final sound in rouge. The other voiced palatal is [d_], which is the initial sound in words like joke and gem. The word judge and the name George both begin and end with the sound [d_] despite the obvious differences in spelling.
One other voiced palatal is the [j] sound used at the beginning of words like you and yet.
Even further back in the roof of the mouth, beyond the hard palate, you will find a soft area, which is called the soft palate, or the velum. Sounds produced with the back of the tongue against the velum are called velars. There is a voiceless velar sound, represented by the symbol [k], which occurs not only in kid and kill, but is also the initial sound in car and cold. Despite the variety in spelling, this [k] sound is both the initial and final sound in the words cook, kick and coke.
The voiced velar sound heard at the beginning of words like go, gun and give is represented by [g]. This is also the final sound in words like bag, mug and, despite the spelling, plague.
The velum can be lowered to allow air to flow through the nasal cavity and thereby produce another voiced velar which is represented by the symbol [ŋ], typically referred to as ‘angma’. In written English, this sound is normally spelled as the two letters ‘ng’. So, the [ŋ] sound is at the end of sing, sang and despite the spelling, tongue. It occurs twice in the form ringing. Be careful not to be misled by the spelling of a word like bang – it ends with the [ŋ] sound only. There is no [g] sound in this word.
There is one sound that is produced without the active use of the tongue and other parts of the mouth. It is the sound [h] which occurs at the beginning of have and house and, for most speakers, as the first sound in who and whose. This sound is usually described as a voiceless glottal. The ‘glottis’ is the space between the vocal cords in the larynx. When the glottis is open, as in the production of other voiceless sounds, and there is no manipulation of the air passing out of the mouth, the sound produced is that represented by [h].