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Unit 9. Abstract, Next Friday.

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Consonant Clusters Within and Across Words


Unit 9; Part A

Consonant clusters also occur within words. For example:
 
Clusters with ...  2 consonant sounds  3 consonant sounds 4 consonant sounds
  escape
approach
dislike
address
important
complete
control
expert
translate
hundred
abstract
expression
upstream
exquisite
(/kskw/)
excruciating

note.jpgNote: Some clusters found within words can also be found at the beginning of words (dislike - slow), at the end of words (important - lamp), or both (escape - Scotland/ask); but others can't (abstract, invisible).

Unit 9; Part B

When a word ending with a consonant or consonants is followed by a word beginning with a consonant or consonants, a new consonant cluster across words is formed. 9.1.jpgThese can be particularly difficult to pronounce when they come within a speech unit without a pause:

         // it's an elm tree//
         // there's a children's playground//

When consonant clusters are divided by a pause, they are often easier to pronounce:

        // if Tom can't take you to the film// try Mike//
        // there'll be three suitcases// two of Joan's// plus my own//

Unit 9; Part C

All the consonant clusters within the speech units in this conversation are underlined. Listen and follow the notes. Some clusters are simplified with sounds left out or changed  to  make them easier to pronounce. (Units 26-31 give detailed information on all these features of fluent speech.)
9.2.jpg 

Unit 9; Part D

Words that commonly go together in phrases and compounds (examples of these are given in Units 16-18) are generally said within speech units. Consonants at the word boundaries are usually run together in a cluster. For example:

Clusters with ... 
2 consonant sounds
3 consonant sounds
4 consonant sounds
  civil servant
cough medicine
electric fence
full marks
language lab
vacuum cleaner
flash flood
asking price
present simple
passive smoking
television screen
winning streak
false friends
lunch break
film credits




  Exercises

flag.jpgListen and repeat phrase 1 in column A with a slight pause between the two speech units. Then listen and repeat phrase 1 in column B, making sure you run the words together without a pause. Then do the same for prases 2-10 (notice that the underlined clusters are the same in columns A and B) . Some underlined consonant clusters in column B are simplified. Try to make the same simplifications when you repeat them (see Key for details of simplifications).
Key.9.4.jpg 

A
 B
// Jack was in the audience// trying not to laugh//
// the ring looked very elegant// sparkling in the sunlight//
// here's some milk// drink it now//
// I hear you won the contract// great news//
// if you're going to the coast// fly there//
// if you find any of my old books// throw them away//
// it's got two bedrooms// slightly small//
// it's very old// Bridget says//
// there was a footprint//small like a child's//
// it was sad in some parts// humorous in others// 
// she's a freelance translator//
// the president spoke next//
// she wore a silk dress//
// it looked green to me//
// it's on the first floor//
// he speaks three languages//
// lift your arms slowly//
// there was a cold breeze//
// what's that unpleasant smell//
// it's huge//
flag.jpgMatch a word from box A with a word from box B to make compound nouns. Say the compounds aloud, making sure you run the words in the compound together.
Key.direct speech (/t/ is left out)
general strike (no simplifcation)
golf club (no simplifcation)
lamp shade (no simplifcation)
first class (/t/ is left out)
passive smoking (no simplifcation)
rock music (/k/ is shortened)
lost property (/t/ is left out)
speech therapist (no simplifcation)
time travel (no simplifcation)
tourist trap(/t/ is lef out)


A     
 blood     direct     general     golf     lamp    first     passive     rock     lost     speech    time     tourist
B
club     property       music     poisoning    class     shade     smoking     speech     strike     therapist     trap     travel

Examples:  blood poisoning (/d/ in 'blood' is pronounced like /b/)
Listen, check your answers and repeat the compounds, making the same simplifications of consonant clusters where these occur (see Key for details of simplifications).

Follow up: Find two-word compound nouns used in a topic that interests you or in your area of study. Which of them have consonant cluster across the two words? Record yourself saying them, and listen to the recording.

  
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