DefinitionPlosive (also known as stops, mutes, occlusives, explosives) sounds are formed by the air being completely blocked in the mouth and then suddenly released. A plosive is a consonant articulation with the following characteristics:
ClassificationWe have 6 Plosive sounds in English: /p/b/t/d/k/g/. The Plosive consonant sounds are generally described on three bases:
DistributionThe following discussion gives a detailed description of the distribution of the plosive sounds. All six plosives can occur initially, medially and finally.
1. Initial Position: The closing phase for /p/ t/ k/ and /b/d/g/ takes place silently. During the hold phase of there is no voicing in /p/t/k/, but in /b/d/g/, on the other hand, we normally very little voicing. The release phase of /p/t/k/ is followed by an audible plosion, that is, a burst of noise. There is then, in the post-release phase, a period during which air escapes through the vocal folds, making a sound like “h”. This is called aspiration. For example: pin, tin, kin. The release of /b/d/g/, on the other hand, is followed by weak plosion.
ReferencesRoach, Peter. English Phonetics and Phonology: A self-contained, comprehensive pronunciation course.
Yule, George. The Study of Language. 2nd ed. Cambridge: CUP, 1996. 40-47