Under a consonant ( from Latin: con = drown with sonare =; well Mittöner or consonant ) refers to a sound whose articulation involves a narrowing of the vocal tract, so that the breath airflow is completely or partially blocked and it audible turbulence ( Luftwirbelungen ) comes. Consonants are obstacle to be overcome lute. These include the German, the group of obstruents ( plosives, fricatives, affricates ) and the group of sonorant (liquid / lateral, nasals ) and the semi-vowel or Halbkonsonant / j /.


For articulatory description of consonants, the following criteria are used:

  • Turnout ( voiced or unvoiced )
  • Articulation
  • Manner of articulation

For example, can a / m / as in Grandma accordance with these criteria characterize as a voiced bilabial nasal.

In addition, one can divide consonants according to their articulation organs, ie the moving body part that approximates when the sound is at the respective place of articulation. For example, is the / k / as in card back of the tongue (Latin dorsum ) the closure of the velum, which is why it is called a dorsal sound.

Viewed from acoustic- auditory criteria to distinguish consonants from vowels in their degree of sonority. Under sonority refers to the sonority, that is different acoustic range of sounds.

Because every syllable has a sound whose sonority exceeds its neighboring sounds, vowels have a greater sonority than consonants. The consonants fall by certain positions in the syllable structure, generally on the syllable beginning and end, that is, consonants are not normally syllables.

As exceptions to this, however, are the sonorants: approximants ( vowels in consonantal position actually, about young / jʊŋ / but phonetically [ i̯ʊŋ ] and nasal and lateral consonants to see ( consonants in syllable rhyme Sonoritätsmaximum such as in mats [ Matn ].

Consonants in German

The German language contains the following consonants:

Through foreign words enter the German and occasionally other consonants such as [ ʒ ] ( garage).

Consonant letters

It is commonly understood by consonants, the letters that represent such sounds. In order to prevent the widespread confusion or identification of sounds and letters, it makes sense to use the term consonant letters.

In German, they usually correspond to the letters: B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, p, T, V, W, X, Z.

They face the vowel letters ( Vokalgraphemen / Kerngraphemen ) A, Ä, E, I, O, E, U, T, Y.

German words with the longest consonant letter strings (words that are listed in standard dictionaries ): cold sweat ( five consonant phonemes or sounds in succession, which are represented with eight consonants letters) or doctor's office ( a maximum of six ( rhotisch and Z for two) against the five ).