Topic: Oral English
Sub-topic: Consonant clusters
The majority of English words contain a mixture of vowels (V) and consonants (C) as in ‘for’ (CV), ‘at’ (VC) , ‘pet’ (CVC).
English allows more than one consonant to occur together in a word or syllable unlike many Nigerian languages. You may use up to three consonants at the beginning of a spoken word (e.g. strong) and up to four consonants at the end (e.g. strengths) in English. A consonant cluster is a group of consonantbaound occuring one after the other. Consonant clusters may occur at beginning or end of a syllable or word.
Read the following words, paying attention to the underlined consonant clusters.
Tips: You should aim at pronouncing consonant clusters in the correct order. You should not say /t ae ks/ instead of /t ae sk/ for ‘task’. Do not reduce consonant clusters, so do not say / asept/ instead of /aksept/ for accept.Also avoid inserting a vowel in-between consonant clusters.
Read the following examples of two and three-consonant initial clusters.
|Two-consonant initial clusters
|Three-consonant initial clusters
Note that whenever you have a cluster of three-consonant sounds at the beginning of a word, the /s/ sound is usually the first sound in the cluster as seen in the examples above.
Clusters can also occur at word boundaries. Word boundaries are where one word ends and another begins. Practice saying the following and pay attention to the underlined word boundaries.
rapid response, food chain, lamp holder, Gold Cost, sobbed quietly, toastmaster, rag doll, sudden demise, dustbin, gentleman like, seasoned pilot
Write down the words from the box in the correct part of the table. Some have one initial consonant, some two and some three. Remember it is the pronunciation, not the spelling, that is important.
|strain, due, crab, spleen, few, suite, dart, zoo, short, Physics, scream, praise, school, church, stupid, squalour, prompts, next, art, palm, guilt
|One initial consonant
|Two initial consonants
|Three initial consonants