English Consonant Clusters

I once dated a Texan named Drew who made fun of the way I said his name. It seems that my pronunciation of his name sounds more like “jrew” than “drew”. I started thinking of other /dr/ clusters and I realized that I said most of them as /jr/, so what I say sounds more like jry, jragon, jrawer, and jrapes rather than dry, dragon, drawer, and drapes. Another interesting one is the /tr/ cluster that is sometimes recognized as /chr/ so that tree sounds more like chree.

So, how about you? Might be interesting to know from which part of the world you hail. For the record, I’m originally from New York City but I’ve moved around a lot.

I do the same thing.

I can’t figure out why Americans pronounce “Greg” and “Craig” so similarly, when they’re spelled so differently.

Greg = Greg
Craig = Krayyg

Hmmm…you made me say them all!


I’m from Alaska (via Washington state nearly 40 years ago), and I realized after sampling your examples that my dr combos sound more like a jr combo.

My Greg and Craig sound more like the phonetic spellings that Guanolad posted. Not like greg and creg.

Interesting. When I say Greg, it rhymes with Craig. An A sound rather than a eh sound. I hail from the southern part of Minnesota, don’cha know.

I pronounce it “Jrew”, too.

My accent hails from New Jersey.

I would probably have made fun of you too. But then I’m from Ohio, so my midwest politeness likely would have have stopped me.

This is a typical phonological phenomenon, at least for American English. The tongue position for the /r/-sound kinda mushes in with the tongue positions for /t/ and /d/, and you get something that sounds like out /ch/ and /j/, respectively. Linguists call this ‘assimilation’ — when two different sounds kinda moosh together like that.

BTW, I do this too. My accent is ‘standard American’, and I grew up in central Florida.

This American doesn’t. Greg & Craig sound exactly like your pronunciations here as well.

Not this American.

If you are interested see:

The vowel categories

on dialectal differences in English.

The OP’s observation seems like a small elision that isn’t that uncommon. Imagine if she wanted to ask Drew to go to lunch:

“Hey Jrew, jooeet jet?”

They rhyme for me, too.

In all honesty, I had to spend the last few minutes saying “Greg” over and over again in order to figure out a way to say it where they didn’t.

I live in New Jersey, and was raised in Pennsylvania.

Mine are very separate, but that may be because I revamped my childhood south’n accent to a very distinct way of speaking when I started teaching nawthen’rs and didn’t want to deal with the flak. When I’m tired or sick, I tend to revert, and those kids nail me every time.

hijack attack! Is Ireland the only country where the letter R is pronounced “or” rather than “arh”?

Yes. Go have a drink now. :wink:

How about the letter “h.” I’ve always said “ayy-ch” but have heard people pronounce it as “Hey-ch.” Where the hell in the world is that from?

Hey-ch here and proud. Most people in the Republic Of Ireland say Hey-ch whilst up north there’s a legend that Protestants say “ayy-ch” and Catholics say “hey-ch”. Their eyes are closer together too.

I definitely pronounce the dr with a d, and Craig and Greg sound different too. I’m from Ohio.