Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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". Oh, I remember: "stair". That's a good one for "st". We have "sl", like "sleep"; "sp" - "spirit"; "spr", maybe like the word "spree"; "spl", like "splash"; "sq", okay? "Squiggle", like a squiggly line; "sk", like "skate"; and then we have "sc" and "scr", like "scream". So, my main point here... We'll be practicing these soon, but there are a lot of consonant clusters in English. Okay? So, if you're from... If you speak a different language, these might be difficult for you. So, now let's learn about common mistakes people make when they pronounce these sounds, and ways to practice how to pronounce these sounds. Okay, so let's look at some common mistakes people make when they're trying to pronounce consonant clusters. So, I have here the word "ski", which is a sport where you are on a hill, and you go down the hill and you're skiing. Okay? So, this is a consonant cluster because we have a "s" sound and a "k" sound. So, together, the "s" and the "k" make a consonant cluster. So, how might somebody pronounce this word? Well, some people, because they never see "s" and "k" together in their language, sometimes they might add and "e", and so they might pronounce this like: "eski", which is not the correct pronunciation. Or you might have somebody else who doesn't have an "s" and a "k" together in their language, and they might add a vowel, so maybe they add an "a" here, and they might, instead of pronouncing it: "ski", they might say: "sa-ski". Okay? So they might add an extra sound. Or you might have other people who look at this word and think: "Oh god, this is an awful word. I don't want to pronounce it; I'm going to make a mistake", and so they might just not say those kinds of words, and they might avoid or not use consonant clusters. Okay? So, now we're going to actually practice how to pronounce these consonant clusters so you don't make any of these mistakes. So, let's look again at the word "ski". So, for this word: "ski", the first thing we can do is we can break it down into two parts. We have the "s" part and the "ki" part. So, let's start with the first sound which is a "ss" sound, like a snake sound. So, I want you to make the snake sound with me: "ss". Okay? So maybe you could do a couple of practices of that: "ss", "ss". And once you have that "s" sound, which is very important, then I want you to practice the second part of this word; the "k" and the "i" together, which is: "ki", "ki". So, say: "ki", "ki". So, now we've done the "ss" sound and the "ki" sound, so now what we're going to do is we're going to practice putting it together, which is the hardest part. So, one thing that can help you when you practice is to have kind of, like, a visual. Visuals or things you see can really help you with your pronunciation. So, I'm going to teach you something. I don't want you doing this in conversation with people; this is just to do when you're at home practicing these words. So, what you can do is you can make your "s" sound: "ss", and you can just make it go along your arm. "ss". Once you get to the end of your arm, your wrist, what you can do is you can tap for the word "ki". "ss-ki". Okay? So, what we're doing is we're saying both of these parts together: "ss-ki". So, I want you to try this: "ss-ki", "ss-ki". Okay? And now what we're going to do is once you have that, once you have the "ss" sound and you tap for the "ki" sound, you can put it together and say it faster and faster. "Ski", "ski", "ski". Okay? The more you practice this, the easier it gets. And so usually you'll start off slow because your tongue in your mouth is doing a lot of different work, but over time you'll get faster and faster at this, and it will be easier to pronounce. Okay, so that's my trick on how to pronounce consonant clusters. Now we're going to use this trick to practice some more consonant clusters, some different ones than the word "ski". Okay. So, I have a list of 10 "s" words that are consonant clusters, and we're going to practice these words together using that hand technique I just taught you. So, let's practice the first word: "sky". Okay? So, remember the first thing we do is we just make the "s" sound: "ss", okay? And then we make the second part, which is "ky", "ky", and now we add it together: "ss-ky", "ss-ky", "ss-ky". All right. Now let's try to say it faster: "sky", "sky". And the more you practice this... At some point, if you practice it and you try to do it faster and faster, even if you're maybe making a mistake in the beginning, you'll get better. Okay? These things take time, so remember it's a lot of practice to be able to pronounce consonant clusters. "Sky". All right. Well done. Now let's try the next one. So we have the "s" sound and the "k" sound again, so let's start with the "s": "ss". Okay, let's do that again: "ss". And now let's say: "kate", "kate". And together: "ss-kate", "ss-kate". And then as we say it faster: "skate", "skate". Okay? And you might have to practice this more times than what I'm showing you, too, and that's okay. All right. The next word: "sleep". Let's do that one together: "ss-leep", "ss-leep", "ss-leep", "sleep". Okay? "Small": "ss", "ss-mall", "ss-mall", "small". Okay? And now we have the word "snow". So, some of these might be ones that you had problems with before; maybe it's becoming a little bit easier now. So, let's try this one: "ss-now", "ss-now", "snow". And, again, when you're using this in conversation, don't do this hand technique because you'll look a little strange. This is just for what you can do at home when you practice these words. All right. Let's try the next one: "ss-peak", "ss-peak", "ss-peak", "speak". Great. Okay. So, "spa": "ss-pa", "ss-pa", "ss-pa", "spa". Okay? Now we have the word "stay": "ss-tay", "ss-tay", "ss-tay", "stay". And now a very common word, "stop": "ss-top", "ss-top", "stop". Okay? And finally, the last word "sweet", so we have the "s" sound and the "weet" sound: "ss-weet", "ss-weet", "sweet". And, again, the faster you do it, the more it will come together to make the actual word. Okay, so one quick tip. So, I've taught you the hand cue. The last thing I want to say is that it's really good if you actually tape record yourself, maybe on your phone or on your computer, and you listen to yourself pronounce words that have consonant clusters, because a lot of people, again, might say something like: "esweet" or "saweet". And you might be making these mistakes, but you don't realize it. So, even when you're practicing you might be making these mistakes. So it's very important to listen to yourself pronounce these words. Okay? And, you know, so what you can do is you can record yourself while doing the hand motion to really practice. So, thank you for watching this video. I hope you come visit us at www.engvid.com. There, you can actually check out our quiz where I'll have even more consonant cluster words that you can practice pronuncing-... Or pronouncing. Sorry. Pronouncing. You can also subscribe to my channel; I have a lot of great resources there on all sorts of things, including pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, writing, work stuff, and much more. So, until next time, thank you for watching and take care.