What is a consonant cluster?

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A consonant cluster is a group or sequence of consonants that appear together in a syllable without a vowel between them.


It is important to distinguish between consonant clusters and digraphs with which they are often confused. In contrast to a consonant cluster, a digraph is a group of two or more symbols which really stand for just one sound (usually a consonant).


In the word chat, the letters c and h appear contiguously but are not a consonant cluster, even though both are separate consonants in other contexts (cat; hat). In this instance, ch is a digraph because the ch sequence represents a single sound in the underlying English sound system.


Here are some examples of consonant clusters:

  • \sp\ and \ts\ in the word spots
  • \spr\ in the word spray

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