Individual sounds in English can be divided into two categories: voiced and voiceless. Knowing the distinction can be helpful when practicing difficult sounds, such as word endings.
Voiced sounds require a vibration of the vocal cords, which are located in your throat. Feel the vibration by touching your hands to your throat, and then pronounce this sound: /z/. Do you feel the vibration? Many consonant sounds are voiced, and all vowel sounds are voiced.
As you may have already guessed, voiceless sounds do not have vibration of the vocal cords. Try pronouncing this sound: /s/. If you feel vibration in your throat, then imagine whispering the sound. Some consonant sounds are voiceless.
Listen to the first sound of the following words. Decide if each sound is voiced or voiceless.