How to Pronounce 'sp' in English

'Sp' can be difficult to pronounce. Here is how to do it.

Steps

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    Practice the sounds individually before you combine them. The 'sp' sound is the same as the individual sounds, but in close succession.
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    To say 's', place the tip of the tongue just off the ridge behind the teeth. This place is called the alveolar ridge. Without voice, blow through this space so that you get a hissing sound. This is called a fricative.
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    To say 'p', bring the lips together (location 2) and stop the air momentarily before opening the mouth into the following vowel. The 'p' sound is also voiceless.
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    Combine the two sounds. Start with the hissing 's' sound and then close your lips momentarily to stop the air and get the 'p'.
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    Add a voiced vowel after this sound. Try pronouncing "spa" or "spuh".
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    Practice words that begin with "sp", such as spit, spin, spend, speed and spade.
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    Practice words that have "sp" in the middle like "inspire" and "whisper".
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    Practice words that end in "sp", like "grasp", "crisp" etc. Note that, although the air stops, it does only stop momentarily. You will open your lips at the end of these words.
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    Look at your mouth in the mirror while saying these words. You may have difficulty pronouncing because of incorrect tongue movements.
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    Practice and use these words as much as you can.

Tips

  • Avoid inserting a vowel sound before the "sp", e.g. "spit" is pronounced "spit", not "espit".
  • When pluralizing a noun ending in "sp", you add a simple "s", not "es" e.g. the plural of "wasp" is "wasps", not *"waspes".
  • Follow this link for animation, sound, and video relating to pronouncing sounds in American English. [1]. It does not include the blend, but it does include the separate 's' and 'p' sounds. Under "manner" follow "stop" to get to /p/ and "fricative" to get to /s/. These are the sounds you will combine in close succession to arrive at "st".

Article Info

Categories: English