Lesson Two: Combinations Of Sounds That Are Not In Your Native Language

The main reasons why speaking English is so hard

This special pronunciation section will explain to you why English is hard to speak correctly and give you some help on improving your pronunciation. These are the main reasons why English is so hard. There is a lesson for each one.

Note that the pronunciation examples are in American English accent. In the last lesson you will find American and British English examples.

These lessons are sponsored by: EyeSpeak English

You most likely know how to say these sounds: 'm' 'p', 's' and 'd'. However do you know how to say them when they are together? For example have you ever had to say a word like 'glimpsed'

There are FOUR consonants in a row at the end of this word, 'mpsd'. The 'e' is not a vowel. Even though 'glimpsed' has seven sounds in it, it is only ONE syllable!

Here are some common consonant clusters and examples:

Cluster Examples
br bridge abrupt bright
bd absorbed bribed disturbed
fs cliffs beliefs
ft craft shaft left
mp bump lump camp
pt egypt except suspect
ths baths maths paths
nth month tenth seventh
nd friend land hand
sp sponge clasp lisp
st start last sting
lmd filmed
lk milk silk
str strength destroy strip
vs behaves waves valves

You need to know that when you are saying words with consonant clusters in them it is very important that you say all the consonants as one syllable. A mistake often made by Asian speakers among others is to put them into extra syllables. For example:

'glimpsed' could become 'glimp sid'

or 'bribed' could become 'brib id'

This does not sound correct.

Finally here is an exercise to let you know when you have really mastered this. Try saying the following:
'The sixth twisty crisp'