Learn how to make the BR consonant cluster (also called a consonant blend) and get a handle on words like bring, break, broken, brass, brother.
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over how to make the BR consonant cluster.
R is a very difficult sound for many to make, so it follows that clusters with R would also be hard. Thanks for this suggestion.
This cluster can come at the beginning of a word, like in ‘bring’, br, br, bring, or the middle of a word like ‘algebra’. Alge-br, br, br-a. Algebra. The sounds can also come at the end of a word, but we don’t consider it a consonant cluster because of the schwa in between. The pronunciation, however, is the same, only it’s unstressed, like ‘number’, num-ber, ber, ber. Number.
The lips come together for the B, the teeth part a little, bbb, and the throat makes a sound, bbb, waiting to be released with the lips, bbb. We want to release right into the next sound, in this case, the R. Don’t make a vowel sound in between. So it’s not bbbuh-rr, but br, from the B right into the R.
Notice that the tongue doesn’t need to do anything for the B. It’s all about the lips. This is key. It means we can move the tongue into position for the R while we make the B.
This is the position for the R. The tip of the tongue pulls back and up, so it’s not touching anything.
Do this with me: part your teeth just a bit inside the mouth. Then lift and slide your tongue back against the roof of the mouth so that this part is touching the roof of the mouth about here. Peel away just the tongue tip so that it’s not touching anything. Now, when you part your lips, flare them for the R. Brr, brr. So we’re pulling the tongue into position for the R, before we even make the B. As you practice this cluster, hold out the R: brrrrrr. Brrrrrrrrreak. Hold it out of a really long time. Not just half of a second. Brrrreak. You get the point.
Let’s look at some words up close and in slow motion.
Notice how the lips part immediately into the flared position for the R. The space inside the mouth is dark because the tongue tip is pulled back and up.
The important thing to keep in mind is to put your tongue into position for the R as you make the B. I made a video a while ago on holding out the R as you practice. Check it out by clicking here or in the description below. You definitely want to do this with the BR cluster, brrrrring. It helps solidify the tongue position for the R.
Let’s drill a few words together. Repeat after me.
I hope this video has made this consonant cluster easier to pronounce. Practice daily with BR words for a week or two, the BR cluster will become more natural. If there’s a word or phrase you’d like help pronouncing, please put it in the comments below.
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That’s it, and thanks so much for using That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.