Unit 7.1

Consonant clusters

Introduction

A consonant cluster is the combination of two or more consonants together placed in any part of the word.

Form

The most common consonant clusters are:

Uppercase Lowercase Phonetic transcription
BL, BR bl, br, /bl/, /br/
CL, CR cl, cr /kl/, /kr/
DR dr /dr/
FL, FR fl, fr /fl/, /fr/
GL,GR gl, gr /gl/, /gr/
PL, PR pl, pr /pl/, /pr/
SC, SK, SL, SM, SN, SP, ST, SW sc, sh, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw /sk/, /sk/, /sl/, /sm/, /sn/, /sp/, /st/, /w/
TR, TW tr, tw /tr/, /tw/

Example

  • bl: cable
  • cl: cluster
  • tr: tree
  • st: coast
  • pr: apricot

Use

A consonant cluster is a combination of two or more consonants together, without a vowel between them, that are part of the same syllable.

They may appear anywhere in the word: at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end.
Consonant clusters can be produced in a lot of ways, some of which are:
  • nasal + stop – /mp/
  • nasal + fricative- /sɛvə/
  • nasal + affricate – /ntʃ/
  • fricative + stop /best/

Perhaps at first they are difficult to pronounce for students due to the cluster of two consonant sounds. It usually happens when sk- at the beginning of the word, as in ski (/skiː/, not /eskiː/.)

Exercises


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