The sound /k/ voiceless, velar, stop consonant




  • "k" /"ke"- king, lake
  • "c" - can, economic
  • "ch"/"che" - character, ache
  • "ck" - luck, package
  • "cc" - account, occasion
  • "qu" (usually pronounced /kw/) / "que"- quality, technique

The sound /k/ can be in these consonant clusters:
  • Beginning of a Syllable
/kr/ ("kr," "cr," "chr") - krill, cry, Christmas
/kl/ ("kl," "cl") - klutz, clean
/sk/ ("sk," "sc") - skate, scare
/skr/ ("scr") - scream
/kw/ ("qu") - queen, choir
/skw/ ("squ") - square
  • End of a Syllable
/kt/ ("ked" / "ched" / "cked") - baked, ached, locked
/ks/ ("cs" / "ches" / "ques" / "cks") - specifics, aches, techniques, backs
/sk/ ("sk") - task
/sks/ ("sks") - risks
/skt/ ("sked") - asked
/rk/ - ("rk" / "rc") - dark, arc
/rks/ ("rk" / "rcs") - forks, arcs
/rkt/ ("rked") - worked
/lk/("lk") - milk
/lks/ ("lks")- hulks
/lkt/ ("lked") - balked
/ŋk/ ("nk" / "nc") - link, zinc
/ŋks/ ("nks" / "ncs") - links, syncs
/ŋkt/ ("nked") - thanked

Grammar Tip:

The sound /k/ is used in the common suffix "-ic". This suffix appears in adjectives and usually means "of" or "relating to".
  • terrific
  • classic
  • dramatic
  • athletic
The sound /k/ is also used in the suffix "-ical," which also appears in adjectives and usually has the same meaning as "-ic." However, "-ic" and "-ical" may mark words with different meaning. (For example, "economic" and "economical" have different meanings, and "comic" and "comical" also have different meanings.)
  • comical
  • medical
  • musical
  • typical
Compare /k/ with /g/:

These are both velar stop consonants. However, /k/ is a voiceless consonant while /g/ is a voiced consonant. When you pronounce /k/, your vocal cords should not vibrate.

You can hear the difference between /k/ and /g/ in these words.
1. A. could, B. good
2. A. class, B. glass
3. A. back, B. bag
4. A. fix, B. figs
5. A. locker, B. logger
6. A. dankly, B. dangly

Now, compare /k/ and /h/:

These are both voiceless consonants pronounced in the back of the mouth. However, /k/ is a velar stop and /h/ is a glottal fricative. The sound /k/ is pronounced with the back of your tongue, while /h/ is pronounced with the glottis, which is behind your tongue.

You can hear the difference between /k/ and /h/ in these words.
1. A. call, B. hall
2. A. kit, B. hit
3. A. come, B. hum
4. A. cook, B. hook
5. A. keep, B. heap
6. A. racecourse, B. racehorse
Listen and repeat these words:
1. kind
2. can
3. cry
4. clean
5. skate
6. screen
7. quote
8. quick
9. squeeze
10. luck
11. bark
12. milk
13. thanks
14. fix
15. baker
16. falcon
17. boxes
18. tickling
19. background
20. calculus

Now practice /k/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
1. thank - kind - encouragement
Thank you for your kind encouragement.
2. can - park - covered
We can park in a covered garage.
3. exchange ("x" = /ks/) - cards - Christmas
They exchange cards and gifts for Christmas.
4. clean- kitchen - cook 
Please clean the kitchen after you cook.
5. stack - boxes ("x" = /ks/) - corner
Stack the boxes in the corner.
6. calculus - textbook ("x" = /ks/) - class
I need a calculus textbook for my class.

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Consonants /d/ and /g/

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