How To Pronounce English Words With The Consonant Blend /br/ With An American accent

Learn how to pronounce the consonant blend /br/!

Hi, it’s Ted here from Speak More Clearly!

In this video, we’re going to learn how to pronounce the consonant blend /br/ with an American accent.

When we say the /br/ consonant blend in standard English, we don’t usually put a vowel sound between the /b/ and /r.

We usually go straight from /b/ to /r/ in one go.

br br   

Umbrella  /ʌmˈbrel.ə/

(um-bre-lla not um-ber-ella)

Just like when you’re feeling cold, brrrrrr…

In Rhianna’s song, she does put a vowel, a short ‘u’- a schwa sound, between the /b/ and /r/.

If your background language doesn’t have many consonant blends 2 or 3 consonants said together in a row – you may be finding it difficult to say the /br/ consonant blend without the vowel in between.


1. Practice words with /br/ at the beginning:

Brown  /braʊn/ (not berown but brown)

Breaking  /breɪkɪŋ/ (make your /ai/ vowel long enough in the word ‘breaking’)

Brief  /briːf/ (the /ie/ says /ee/ in brief)

Brain  /breɪn/


2. Practice words with /br/ in the middle:

Upbringing  /ˈʌpˌbrɪŋ.ɪŋ/

Celebration  /ˈsel.ə.breɪ.ʃən/ (the ‘bray’ syllable is the longest and main stressed syllable)

Equilibrium  /ˌek.wəˈlɪb.ri.əm/


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For more training materials, check out this lesson on pronunciation tips for consonant clusters.

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