Ted Power
"Kissing Consonants" © 2007-13

Consonant Clusters index

Full word lists (each link is a separate page)-------for consonant clusters beginning with:

/ m / / p / / b / / f / / v / / θ / / ð / / n / / t / / d / / s / / z /
/ l / / r / / ʧ / / ʤ / / ʃ / / ʒ / / j / / ŋ / / k / / g /


Quick reference (jumps to section below)-----------for consonant clusters beginning with:

/ m / / p / / b / / f / / v / / θ / / ð / / n / / t / / d / / s / / z /
/ l / / r / / ʧ / / ʤ / / ʃ / / ʒ / / j/ / ŋ / / k / / g /

"Kissing Consonants" © Ted Power 2007-13---------Introduction

When there are three or more consonants together, native speakers do not always produce as many consonant sounds. For example, the final consonant cluster in the word "fifths" is usually reduced to the last two consonant phonemes. Good pronunciation materials need to include practice of elision (missing phonemes out) and assimilation (a change in the quality of the phoneme - perhaps to a different phoneme altogether!).

"KISSING CONSONANTS" practises final consonant clusters, since lists of initial consonant clusters can easily be found in a dictionary, and consonant strings at the beginnings of words generally cause fewer difficulties.

My practice examples of the consonant clusters are short samples of connected speech, mainly drawn from the British National Corpus. I have been guided in selecting examples by 'frequency of use', but I have also tried to make the examples as helpful as possible to learners of English. I do not subscribe to the mistaken concept of 'authenticity' which negates the role of teachers and discourages them from vetting what they present to their students. The overwhelming majority of writers and speakers attempt to take their intended audience into account.

Learners of English as a Second Language, some who will already be 'teachers of English' in their own country, need to know when a native speaker would simplify a consonant cluster in connected speech. A second area of difficulty is that the spellings of FINAL CONSONANT CLUSTERS are often FALSE FRIENDS - i.e. a very poor guide to how they are pronounced within connected speech.

English pronunciation is a little more complicated than simple differences between individual phonemes such as the vowel sounds in pairs of words such as "ship" and "sheep". The number of manoeuvres a learner has to perform is far greater in connected speech, where there are also words containing strings of at least three consonant phonemes, involving tricky adjustments in place and manner of articulation.

Managing this juggling act can be a little easier if learners are taught to recognise ways in which native speakers simplify strings of three consonants through elision (missing out one of them) & / or assimilation (changing a consonant phoneme so that the manner of articulation is more similar throughout the consonant cluster).

Success at the above makes connected speech more fluent to listen to. Practice at this will make it less obvious that English is not your native language.

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beginning with voiced bilabial nasal---- / m / ---------GLOSSARY

001---------mp (final) -------bump, camp, hemp, limp, lump, ramp

002---------mps (final) ----- amps, camps, lamps, lumps, mumps, trumps

003---------mf (final) -------lymph, nymph

004---------mft (final) ------triumphed

005---------mfs (final) ------nymphs

006---------mt (final) -------camped, dreamt revamped, lumped

007---------mt (medial) ------empty, temptation

008---------mtr (medial) -----temptress

009---------mts (final) -------tempts

010---------md (final) -------aimed, assumed, formed, roamed, shamed

011---------mst (final) ------glimpsed

012---------mz (final) -------comes, terms, times

beginning with voiceless bilabial plosive---- / p / ----[ Back ]

013---------pθ (final)--------depth

014---------pθs (final)-------depths

015---------pθr (medial)------upthrust

016---------pt (final) --------abrupt, Egypt, except, harped, kept, opt

017---------pt (medial)------abruptly, absorption, acceptable

018---------pts (final) -------accepts, adopts

019---------ps (final) --------cups, equips, jumps, perhaps, steps

020---------ps (medial) ------Epsom, Ipswich, lopsided, upside down

021---------pst (final) -------lapsed

beginning with voiced bilabial plosive---- / b / ----[ Back ]

022---------bd (final) --------absorbed, bribed, curbed, lobbed, robed, robbed

023---------bz (final) --------cabs, fibs, jabs, knobs, verbs, yobs

beginning with voiceless labiodental fricative---- / f / ----[ Back ]

024---------fθ (final) ---------fifth, twelfth

025---------fθs (final) --------fifths, twelfths

026---------fθl (medial) ------fifthly

027---------ft (final) ---------craft, drift, gift, left, lift, loft, soft

028---------ft (medial) -------after, daftest, often rafter, softly, swiftly, thrifty

029---------fts (final) --------crofts, drifts, gifts, lifts, lofts

030---------fs (final) ---------beliefs, cliffs, chefs, chiefs, hankerchiefs, laughs

beginning with voiced labiodental fricative---- / v / ----[ Back ]

031---------vd (final) --------arrived, believed, involved, lived, proved, saved

032---------vz (final) --------additives, captives, loaves, loves, serves, waves

beginning with voiceless dental fricative---- / θ / ----[ Back ]

033---------θs (final) --------baths, cloths, maths, oaths, paths, truths

beginning with voiced dental fricative---- / ð / ----[ Back ]

034---------ðd (final) --------bathed, betrothed, clothed, seethed, swathed

035---------ðz (final) --------bathes, breathes, clothes, loathes, seethes, soothes

beginning with voiced alveolar nasal---- / n / ----[ Back ]

036---------nθ (final) -------month, tenth

037---------nθ (medial) -----anthem

038---------nt (final) --------ant, aren´t, aunt, bent, can´t, font, want

039---------nts (final) -------ants, fonts, grunts, hints, hunts, pants

040---------ntst (final) ------chintzed

041---------nd (final) -------behind, concerned, find, found, friend, owned

042---------nd (medial) -----friendship, landlord -----* Note rules for deletion of / d /

043---------ndz (final) ------bends, ends, friends, sounds

044---------ns (final) -------hence, pence, since, tense

045---------ns (medial) -----pensive, tenses

046---------nz (final) -------hens, lens, pens, runs, tens

047---------nʧ (final) -------lunch, pinch

048---------nʧt (final) ------lunched, pinched

049---------nʤ (final) ------change, hinge

050---------nʤd (final) -----changed, hinged

beginning with voiceless alveolar plosive---- / t / ----[ Back ]

051---------tθ (final) --------breadth, eighth, hundredth, thousandth, width

052---------tθs (final) -------breadths, eighths, hundredths, thousandths, widths

053---------ts (final) --------cats, eats, fights, its, meets, parts, puts, waits

054---------tst (final) ------amidst, midst

beginning with voiced alveolar plosive---- / d / ----[ Back ]

055---------dz (final) -------almonds, beds, birds, hands, kinds, weeds, words

beginning with voiceless alveolar fricative---- / s / ----[ Back ]

056---------sp (final) -------clasp, crisp, gasp, lisp, wasp

057---------st (final) -------chased, first, pursed

058---------sts (final) ------thirsts

059---------sk (final) -------ask, desk, dusk, risk

beginning with voiced alveolar fricative---- / z / ----[ Back ]

060---------zd (final) -------amazed, crazed, gazed, lazed, phased, phrased

beginning with voiced alveolar lateral approximant---- / l / ----[ Back ]

061---------lmd (final) ------filmed

062---------lmz (final) ------elms, films

063---------lp (final) --------help

064---------lpt (final) -------helped

065---------lps (final) -------helps

066---------lbd (final) -------bulbed

067---------lbz (final) -------bulbs

068---------lf (final) ---------self

069---------lfθs (final) -------twelfths, Alf´s

070---------lft (final) --------elfed

071---------lvd (final) -------delved

072---------lθ (final) --------health

073---------lθs (final) -------tilths

074---------lnd (final) -------kilned

075---------lnz (final) -------kilns

076---------lt (final) --------difficult

077---------ltst (final) -------waltzed

078---------ld (final) --------cold, held

079---------ldz (final) -------holds, worlds

080---------ls (final) --------else

081---------lz (final) --------fills, girls

082---------lʧt (final) -------filched

083---------lʤd (final) ------bilged

084---------lʃt (final) --------welshed

085---------lk (final) --------milk, silk

086---------lks (final) -------milks

087---------lkt (final) -------milked

088---------lkts (final) ------mulcts

beginning with voiced alveolar approximant ------ / r / ----[ Back ]

rm (final) -------silent before a consonant in England & Wales------- "alarm" / əˈlɑ:m /, "arm" / ˈɑ:m /, "warm" / ˈwɔ:m /

rm (final) -------generally pronounced (& sometimes rolled) in Scotland & Ireland
---------------- "alarm" / əˈlɑ:rm /, "arm" / ˈɑ:rm /, "warm" / ˈwɔ:rm /

The / r / within these consonant clusters is generally pronounced in Canada most parts of the USA.

The / r / is pronounced by all English speakers when it precedes a vowel sound, as in "angry" / ˈærɪ / or "zebra" / ˈzebrə /.

/ r / can precede several other consonants sounds, though in these contexts it is rarely pronounced in England and Wales.

beginning with voiceless post-alveolar affricate---- / ʧ / ----[ Back ]

089---------ʧt (final) -------hitched, matched, watched

beginning with voiceless post-alveolar affricate---- / ʤ / ----[ Back ]

090---------ʤd (final) ------caged, edged, forged, judged, waged

beginning with voiceless post-alveolar fricative---- / ʃ / ----[ Back ]

091---------ʃt (final) -------cashed, fished, mashed, washed

beginning with voiceless post-alveolar fricative---- / ʒ / ----[ Back ]

092---------ʒd (final) -------leisured, measured, pleasured, treasured

beginning with voiced palatal semi-vocalic---- / j / ----[ Back ]

/ t / + / j / is often replaced by / ʧ / in words such as "nature" / ˈneɪʧəʳ /, "future" / ˈfju:ʧəʳ /, "feature" / ˈfi:ʧəʳ /, and "creature" / ˈkri:ʧəʳ /. This type of assimilation is known as coalescence. See Wikipedia on Yod-coalescence.

/ d / + / j / is often replaced by / ʤ / in words such as "gradual" / ˈgræʤʊəl / and individual / . This type of assimilation is known as coalescence. See Wikipedia on Yod-coalescence.

beginning with voiced velar nasal---- / ŋ / ----[ Back ]

093---------ŋθ (final) -------length

094---------ŋt (final) -------instinct

095---------ŋts (final) ------instincts

096---------ŋd (final) -------longed

097---------ŋst (medial) -----minxed

098---------ŋz (final) -------things

099---------ŋk (final) -------think

100---------ŋg (final) -------thing

beginning with voiceless velar plosive---- / k / ----[ Back ]

101---------kθ (final) -------sixth

102---------kθs (final) ------sixths

103---------kt (final) -------fact, worked

104---------kts (final) ------conflicts, contexts, expects texts

105---------ks (final) -------six, works

106---------kst (final) ------context, next, oversexed, pretext, text

beginning with voiced velar plosive---- / g / ----[ Back ]

107---------gd (final) -------bagged, hugged, logged, tagged, wagged

108---------gz (final) -------eggs, figs, mugs, rugs


Voiceless and voiced

Place of articulation

Manner of articulation

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