The / k / Sound in Key.
Pronunciation Activation Pack – 28
key / k /
In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / k /.
We will look at the letter combinations that give the / k / sound.
We will look at lots of words which have the / k / sound in them.
Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / k / sound correctly.
The / k / sound is an unvoiced velar plosive made by blocking the air flow with the back of the tongue pressed up against the soft, back part of the roof of the mouth and then releasing it explosively.
The / k / sound on the chart is shown in blue, which means that it is unvoiced.
Letter Combinations for / k /
This unvoiced velar plosive has these combinations:
K, C, CC, CH, CK, Q, QU, and X.
I can’t stomach the six liquors the monks make.
/ ˈaɪ kɑːnt ˈstʌ.mək ðə sɪks ˈlɪkəz ðə mʌŋks ˈmeɪk /
To catch a chicken is quite a quest.
/ tə kætʃ ə ˈtʃɪkɪn ɪz kwaɪt ə kwest /
The account sent a bouquet to the bank clerk.
/ ðə əˈk.aʊnt sent ə bʊˈk.eɪ tə ðə bæŋk klɑːk /
The larynx is commonly called the voice box.
/ ðə ˈlæ.rɪŋks ɪz ˈkɒ.mən.li kɔːld ðə vɔɪs bɒks /
Silent Letter k
In some words, the letter k is not sounded and is known as the silent K.
The silent K is usually found before the letter N at the beginning of a word.
In Old English the initial K was pronounced.
The word knight would have been pronounced as knight.
The knave knifed me in the knee you know.
/ ðə neɪv naɪft miː ɪn ðə niː ju nəʊ /
Don’t knock knitted knickers.
/ dəʊnt nɒk ˈnɪ.tɪd ˈnɪkəz /
She knocked him to his knees with a knuckle sandwich.
/ ʃi nɒkt ɪm tu ɪz niːz wɪð ə ˈnʌk.l̩ ˈsæn.wɪdʒ /
Know you this knackered knight with knobbly knees, knave?
/ nəʊ ju ðɪs ˈnæked naɪt wɪð ˈnɒ.bli niːz / neɪv /
Problems for Students
Besides the silent letter K, the biggest problem posed by the / k / sound is when it is contrasted with the / g /.
The only difference between the words in these minimal pairs is that of voicing.
In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at a set of minimal pairs which differ only in the sounds / k / or / g /.
Resources and Activators
As with all of my English Activation Packs, this Activation Pack has valuable resources to help you activate the language in this lesson.
Download the resources from the link at the top left.
You will also find the Activators at the end of the Pack.
These will give you plenty of exercises to help you make the language in this lesson part of your active vocabulary.
Interactive British English IPA Chart
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