Do you have trouble pronouncing ‘s’ words in English? Many students find words like street, squirrel, screen, spell, snow, and others difficult to pronounce. That’s because these words have consonant clusters in them. Consonant clusters are two or more consonants next to each other in a word. In this video, we will focus on ‘s’ words that contain consonant clusters, like the “str” in “street” or the “sk” in “sky”. In English, consonant clusters are very common. There may not be any in your native language, which could make their pronunciation challenging for you. But by the end of this video, you will have a solid grasp of the concept of consonant clusters and their pronunciation
Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video I am going to teach you about pronunciation. Today we are going to talk about something called: “Consonant Clusters”. Okay? So, you’re probably thinking: “What is a ‘consonant cluster’ or a ‘consonant blend’?” That’s okay, because in this video I will talk about what these are-they’re very common in English-I’m going to talk about mistakes people make when pronuncing-… Pronouncing them. Sorry. And then I’m going to teach you a great way to practice these words. Okay?
So, let’s first learn about: What are “consonant clusters”? Okay, so I have here the word: “snow”, “small”, “sleep”, and “sport”. These have something in common. If you’re not quite sure, but you’re thinking maybe it has to do with consonant clusters, you’re correct. Okay? Just like the name of this video, these four words all have consonant clusters in them. Okay? And I’ve underlined the part that is the consonant cluster. So, here we have: “sn”, “sm”, “sl”, “sp”.
So, to better understand consonant clusters, first we should really talk about vowels and consonants. So, vowels, in English, are sounds that contain either: “a”, “e”, “i”, “o”, “u”, and sometimes “y”. So these are our vowels in English. In different languages, vowels are different; in English, these are our vowels. So, we have here: “o” in “snow” is a vowel, the “a” sound in “small”, the “ah” is a vowel, we have the “e” sound in “sleep” is a vowel, and the “o” sound in “sport” is a vowel. So, these are our vowels.
The opposite of a vowel is a consonant. So, consonants are not vowels; they’re pretty much everything else. Okay? So, in English, we have a lot of consonants. “t” is an example of a consonant, “r”, “s”, “k”, “c”, “m”, “n”, “b”, “v”, “q”, “p”, “l”, and there’s so many more. Okay? So, pretty much every other sound that is not these are consonants. So, now we’ve… So, in this word, for example: “s” is a consonant, “n” is a consonant. In this word: “s” is a consonant, “m” is a consonant, and “l” is a consonant. Okay? And here we have the same; “s”, “l”, and “p” are consonants; “s”, “p”, and “r” and “t” are consonants. Okay?
Okay, so we’ve talked about vowels and we’ve talked about consonants. So now let’s talk about consonant clusters. So, consonant clusters are where you have two or more consonants together in your pronunciation, and they… They make, like, one unit of sound. So, for example, we have here “s”, which is a consonant, and “t” which is a consonant. So, when these two are together in the beginning or the end of a word, it’s a consonant cluster. So, we pronounce this, for example: “stair”. So, the “st” is a consonant cluster. Or it can come at the end of a word, like: “last”. And a lot of students have trouble with consonant clusters, because they’re… They’re hard. You’re… You’re pronouncing a lot of different sounds together.
Here’s another example of a consonant cluster. So, we have “f” which is a consonant, and we have “r” which is a consonant; together, they’re a consonant cluster. We might find this in the word “friend”, or maybe a word like “free”. Here we have “s” and “q”. We’ll get back to “r” in a second. We have “s” and “q” together. So, if you think about this: “squirrel”. So, “s” and “q” together. I’m just going to remove that. “Squirrel”. We have another consonant cluster, because “s” is a consonant and so is “q”; “q” is a consonant as well.
And then, finally, another example, we have the “g” sound and we have the “r” sound. Together, for example, in the beginning of “green”, these two are both consonants, so they form a consonant cluster. So, I think you’re sort of getting the idea. There’s a lot of consonant clusters in English, and these are hard to pronounce.
So, today we’re going to focus on consonant clusters that start with the letter “s” or that are in “s” words. Okay? So let’s look at what I mean by this. You might see a word with “sm” in it, so for example: “small” – that’s a consonant cluster with “s”. You might see “sn”, like “snake”; “sw”, like “sword”; “st”, like… Well, I was going to say “street”; that’s more, like, here: “str” is “street”. […]
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IWeb TEFL Team