Consonant clusters are groups of 2 or more consonants together at the end of the word. The typical error patterns tend to be devoicing (saying a voiceless sound/s rather than the voiced consonant) and omission (leaving one or more sound off). Correcting these errors is important because consonant clusters contain important grammatical information.
Ordinal numbers (e.g. first, third, fortieth) can present problems when mispronounced. They are often similar pronunciation to numerals (e.g. seventeen/seventeenth, four/fourth) but they have a consonant cluster at the end. Error patterns on consonant clusters (devoicing, omission) will result in a potential misunderstanding of the number. In addition, the final th /θ/ on many ordinal numbers can be difficult to say correctly. Use the written words, IPA symbols and recordings below to practice correct final consonant clusters on ordinal numbers.
As you look at the words above, notice that many have the combinations -nth /nθ/ and -tieth /tijəθ/. You might find it helpful to practice these ending sounds on their own, then add them to the ordinal numbers. The recordings below are the /nθ/ and /tijəθ/ endings.
The letter x has 3 different pronunciations in American English. The most common pronunciation for letter x is /ks/. Pronounce /ks/ when the x is at the end of the word, such as in fax and tax. Also pronounce /ks/ when the x is after a stressed vowel, such as in the words extra /ˈɛkstrə/ and mixed /ˈmɪkst/.
When the x is before the stressed vowel, we pronounce it as a voiced sound /gz/. For example, pronounce /gz/ in the words example /ɪgˈzæmpəl/ and exactly /ɪgˈzæktli/.
Least common are words which begin with letter x, such as xenophobe or xylophone. In these words, pronounce /z/ for the letter x.
Note, some foreign loan words in English have a different pronunciation of the letter x. For example, the French loan word faux is pronounced with a silent x (/foʊ/).
Below are a list of words you might commonly use which contain the letter x, sorted by their pronunciation (voiceless /ks/ and voiced /gz/). Also included are consonant clusters with xt. These are pronounced /kst/.
Present tense verbs in the third person (used with he, she and it) generally end with the letters s or es. These are pronounced as voiceless /s/, voiced /z/ or an additional syllable /ɪz/ depending on the context.
Verbs ending in voiceless sounds p, t, k, f. For these verbs, pronounce /s/.
Verbs ending in voiced sounds (b, d, g, v, r, w, m, n ng. l, vowels). For these verbs, pronounce/z/.
Verbs ending in s, z, sh, ch or j. Add -es, and pronounce an extra syllable -ez /əz/ or /ɪz/.
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