[kw] ‘qu’ as in ‘quit’

Today I want to work on the ‘qu’ consonant cluster, that is, the ‘kk’ as in ‘cap’ [k] with the ‘ww’ as in ‘will’ [w] W sound. I know that some people have difficulties with this sound. The key is in the lip position. Question, quick. To make the W sound, the lips have to round not just a little, but a lot, so that there’s just a tiny gap there where the lips are not touching. When I say the word ‘quick’, notice that my lips have already rounded, quick, before my vocal cords even release the air for the kk sound. Quick.

Sample words: notice the lip position. Quick, question, adequate, banquet, quiet, equate. The most common mistake in making this cluster is leaving out the W sound. So let’s look at some word pairs where the first of the word pair has the ‘qu’ cluster and the second word of the word pair simply has the kk sound. Make sure you watch the difference in the lip position. Quit, kit. Quilt, kilt. Quote, coat.

Here is the word ‘quick’ up close and in slow motion. Notice how the lips pull into this tight circle for the W sound before opening up into the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’ vowel sound. And here is the word question. Again, notice the tiny circle of the lips. Here, the word pair ‘quit’ and ‘kit’. Quit – the tight circle of the lips. Kit, the jaw simply drops into the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’ vowel sound. Quilt and kilt. Again, quilt, tight circle of the lips. And on kilt, the jaw simply drops. Quote and coat. Quote, the lips form this tight circle, and on coat, they simply make the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthong. And finally, ‘quite’ and ‘kite’. Quite – tight circle. Kite – simply the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong. There will be more videos with up-close slow motions coming.

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