Did you say ‘club’ or ‘crab’?

‘I ate a CLUB sandwich.’

‘I ate a CRAB sandwich.’

You can see the differences in the spellings of club and crab, but here’s how to say the differences:

Let’s start from the end of the words – UB and AB. The vowels U and A are different. Repeat and remember ‘umbrella UB umbrella UB’ until you can just say UB.

Then say ‘apple AB apple AB’ until you can just say AB.

Next say ‘UB AB UB AB UB AB…’

Again, you have the /l/ and /r/ issue, so first practice the two sounds (see my previous post on this). Say ‘L R L R L R’.

Next, let’s add the /l/ to UB: Say LUB, LUB, LUB…

And add the /r/ to AB: Say RAB, RAB, RAB…

You now need to make the /kl/ sound for CL-UB. The two sounds /k/ and /l/ finish with your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, and your lips open and relaxed. For Japanese speakers, focus on saying the sounds /k/ and /l/ as close together as possible, and stop quickly too so you don’t say ‘kulu’, but just /kl/. CL, CL,CL… Your brain and mouth will want to prepare to say UB, so after /kl/ make sure your mouth is in position to make the U sound. Then go ahead and say it all: CLUB, CLUB, CLUB…!

The beginning sound for CRAB is /kr/, so your lip and mouth position is very different compared with /kl/. To start, round your lips like in a kiss and again say the two sounds /k/ and /r/ as close together and as short as you can. CR, CR, CR… Your lips stay rounded until your mouth opens as you add AB to the end. Say CRAB CRAB CRAB…!

Finally, you should be ready to contrast the two words: Say them slowly and clearly, focusing on making the different sounds different: CLUB, CRAB, CLUB, CRAB.

You did it!


Did you say ‘club’ or ‘crab’?」への2件のフィードバック

  1. Wow, Thank you for giving us the thoughtful and thorough explanations!!!
    I understand well.
    I felt as if I took your pronunciation class!
    I’m looking forward to the next pronunciation class !

    • Thank you, Fuyu.
      Yes, I have a special pronunciation class every month at the school in Sapporo. This month the lesson is on the ‘th’ sounds. I look forward to seeing you there.



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