How to Pronounce the p Sound (/p/ Phoneme)

Here are some basic words that have the p sound (Click on the 'volume-up' icon to listen to the sound):

  • place /pleɪs/ 
  • play /pleɪ/
  • pay /peɪ/

It is a sound from the ‘Consonants Pairs’ group and it is called the ‘Voiceless bilabial stop’. This means that you use both of your lips to block your mouth.

The p sound is made through the mouth and it is Unvoiced which means that you don’t use your vocal chords to make the sound.

It is defined by the shape of your lips and the motion of airflow through your mouth. and it is a stop sound, which is a sound made by building up air pressure by stopping air flow and then releasing it. In this case you use both your lips to create the stop and then release it.

To produce the sound bring both of your lips together and build up some pressure in your mouth, then release it.

How the p sound is Spelled

The /p/ phoneme is normally spelled with the letter ‘p’ as in the words.

  • problem /’prɒbləm/
  • part /pɑːt/
  • company /’kʌmpəni/
  • power /ˈpaʊə/

Examples of the p sound

Here are some words that begin with the p sound:

  • programme /’prəʊgræm/
  • provide /prəˈvaɪd/
  • potato /pəteɪtəʊ/
  • point /pɔɪnt/

Here are some words with the p sound in the middle:

  • happen /’hæpən/
  • people /’piːpəl/
  • important /ɪmˈpɔːtənt/
  • appear /əˈpɪə/

Here are some words with the p sound at the end:

  • help /help/
  • up /ʌp/
  • keep /kiːp/
  • group /gruːp/

The /p/ and /b/ are often studied as a pair because both sounds are produced in the front of the mouth with the tongue in the same place. The only difference is that /b/ is voiced and /p/ is voiceless (aspirated). In other words, /p/ and /b/ share manner and place of articulation and differ in voicing. When we produce a /b/ our vocal folds vibrate and when it is a /p/ they don’t.

Last modified: Sunday, 31 May 2020, 1:15 AM