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Any speech sound that involves a significant obstruction of the airstream in the vocal tract and that functions at the beginning or end of a syllable, either singly or in a cluster, or a letter of the alphabet representing such a speech sound. Plosive consonants involve complete stoppage of the airstream and are maximally consonantal; nasal (2) consonants complete blockage of the airstream through the mouth but not the nose; fricatives considerable obstruction but not stoppage; lateral consonants obstruction in the centre of the mouth only; and approximants relatively little obstruction of the airflow. Compare semivowel, vowel. consonantal adj. [From Latin consonare to sound at the same time]

Subjects: Psychology.

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