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consonant cluster (CC)

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consonant cluster (CC)

Examples of consonant clusters in English

Definition:

A group of two or more consonant sounds that come before (onset), after (coda), or between (medial) vowels. Also known as cluster.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "The combination /st/ is a consonant cluster (CC) used as onset in the word stop, and as coda in the word post. There are many CC onset combinations permitted in English phonotactics, as in black, bread, trick, twin, flat and throw. . . .

    "English can actually have larger onset clusters, as in the words stress and splat, consisting of three initial consonants (CCC). The phonotactics of thee larger onset clusters is not too difficult to describe. The first consonant must always be /s/, followed by one of the voiceless stops (/p/, /t/, /k/) and a liquid or glide (/l/, /r/, /w/). You can check if this description is adequate for the combinations in splash, spring, strong, scream and square."
    (George Yule, The Study of Language, 4th ed. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010)


  • "In some instances the consonant cluster may coincide with a cluster which can occur at the end of a word without a suffix; for example the words lapse and laps end with the same consonant cluster and in fact are homophonous, and the same is true of chaste and chased."
    (Charles W. Kreidler, The Pronunciation of English: A Course Book. Blackwell, 2004)


  • Consonant Cluster Reduction
    - "Consider the example of word-final consonant cluster reduction as it affects sound sequences such as st, nd, ld, kt, and so forth in various English dialects. The rule of word-final consonant cluster reduction may reduce items such as west, wind, cold, and act to wes', win', col', and ac' respectively. The incidence of reduction is quite variable, but certain linguistic factors systematically favor or inhibit the operation of the reduction process. . . . With respect to the phonological environment that follows the cluster, the likelihood of reduction is increased when the cluster is followed by a word beginning with a consonant. This means that cluster reduction is more frequent in contexts such as west coast or cold cuts than in contexts like west end or cold apple."
    (Walt Wolfram, "Dialect in Society." The Handbook of Sociolinguistics, ed. by Florian Coulmas. Blackwell, 1997)


    - "Consonant cluster reduction is a process in which the final consonant group or cluster, composed of two consonant sounds, is reduced to a single consonant sound. . . . As a result of the consonant cluster process, the words tes ('test') and des ('desk') rhyme, and are minimally different in that they contrast only in the initial t and d sounds."
    (Lisa J. Green, African American English: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2002)
Also Known As: cluster
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