[shr] ‘shr’ as in ‘shrimp’

Today I’m going to talk about the SHR consonant blend. Let’s take for example the word ‘shrimp’ and begin by looking at the lip position. Shrimp, shrimp. You’ll note that the lips are flared, sh, sh, in the SH position, shrimp. The lips then come into a tighter circle for the R. Shr-, shr-. This R will have the shape of a beginning R sound. If you’ve seen my video on Understanding the R Consonant, then you know that an R at the beginning of a syllable or word has a tighter position than the more relaxed version that happens for an R and the end of a word or a syllable. So in this blend, it’s the more tight, initial R position. Shr-, shr-, shrimp. Here we have the SH and the R sounds compared from the side. Again you can see the flare in the SH position. In the R the lips form a tighter circle. So the lips go from being flared for the SH, sh … rr, to being in a tighter circle for the R. The teeth and jaw: they don’t really move. The other main part of this consonant blend is the tongue and how the tongue moves. Now the tongue will be more forward for the SH sound, sh, sh, sh, the tip being just behind the closed or almost closed teeth. The R, however, has a pull back, shr-, shr-. And if you don’t have the tongue pulled back for that position, it won’t make the proper R sound. So if you have a problem with the R sound, watch the understanding the R sound video. Work on that sound individually before trying to do it with the SH sound.

And now a few words in slow motion to help you study the SH mouth position. The first word, mushroom. There’s the SH and the R, the vowel and the M. The next word, shrimp. Watch the lips flare out for the SH, and then come in tighter for the R before opening into the vowel. Now the word shroud. Again, the SH flared, coming in for a very tight circle on the R before opening into the vowel sound. And finally, shriek. Flared lips for the SH, tight circle for the R, opening into the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ vowel sound.

Now a list of words on which to practice. I’ll say it, repeat after me. Shroud, shrine, shrink, shredder, shriek, mushroom, dishrag, shrew, washroom, shrivel, shrub. I hope you now better understand how to pronounce this blend. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.

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