Note: A /p/ at the beginning of a word or syllable should be pronounced with a stronger burst of air than a /p/ at the end of a word or syllable (or in a consonant cluster). This is called aspiration.
- “p” – pie, tap
- ”pe” - grape, rope
- “pp” – apple, ripped
The sound /p/ can be in these consonant clusters:
Beginning of a Syllable
/pr/ ("pr") - pray
/sp/ ("sp") - spell
/spl/ ("spl") - split
/spr/ ("spr") - spring
End of a Syllable
/pt/ ("pt" / “ped” / "pped") - slept, hoped, ripped
/mp/ ("mp") - lamp
/mps/ ("mps") - pumps
/mpt/ ('mpt" / “mped”) - prompt, pumped
/lp/ ("lp") - gulp
/lpt/ (“lped”) - helped
/rp/ ("rp") - sharp
/rps/ ("rps") - harps
/rpt/ (“rped”) - warped
/sp/ ("sp") - rasp
/sps/ ("sps") - wasps
/spt/ (“sped”) - lisped
The sound /p/ is in the common prefix "pre-". This prefix usually means "before" and can be part of a noun or verb. The prefix is usually unstressed, but it can be stressed.
These are both bilabial stop consonants. However, /p/ is voiceless and /b/ is voiced. There is no aspiration after /b/ at the beginning of a word. At the end of a word, the vowel before /b/ will be longer than the vowel before /p/.
Now compare /p/ and /f/:
These are both voiceless consonants that are pronounced using the lips. However, /p/ is a bilabial stop and /f/ is a labio-dental fricative. When you pronounce /p/, your teeth should not touch your lips and the air in your mouth should be stopped.
You can hear the difference between /p/ and /f/ in these words.
Now, practice /p/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
Please sweep and mop the floor.
2. spring – plant – grapevines
In spring we will plant some grapevines.
3. employment – apply – position
Contact the employment agency to apply for a position.
4. purpose – project – provide
The purpose of this project is to provide new community resources.
5. public – harp – performance
We attended a public harp performance last night.
6. explain – company – procedures
Can you explain the company’s hiring procedures?
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