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American English Pronunciation Podcast (Pronuncian.com), #63: When Americans omit the t sound

#63: When Americans omit the t sound

When do Americans omit the t sound ?

Transcript

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English Pronunciation Podcast. My name is Mandy, and this is our 63rd episode.

Two weeks ago I talked about when North Americans say a quick d sound in place of a t sound , as in the word little. I want to emphasize again that dictionaries usually don't show this alternative pronunciation, and I want to make sure you know it is an alternative, and not necessary to learn to do. Because it isn't absolutely necessary, few textbooks teach about it. But it will help you sound more casual. Let's repeat the rules for the t as a quick d sound .

Americans substitute a d sound for a t sound when the t follows a vowel or an r sound , and comes before a vowel, r sound , schwa+r, or l sound . Think about it like this, vowels, r's and l's will mess up a t sound .

Common examples are:

little water meeting

Today I'm going to tell you about when the t sound gets completely omitted, like when the word printer is said as printer . There are a few things that make this harder to notice and hear. First, when a t sound is the final sound of a word, it gets linked into the sound that follows it, which makes it hard to hear. Go to episode 52, linking from the -ed ending if you'd like a review of that concept. Secondly, when t is the final sound of a word and not getting linked to another sound, it is not fully aspirated, meaning we don't have as big of a puff of air when we release the stop, so it is harder to hear. But all of that is not what I'm talking about today. I'm not talking about making the sound smaller by linking it or not aspirating it, I'm talking about not saying it as all, especially in the middle of a word.

Americans do this to differing amounts. It really is a personal preference. But I very rarely hear a person who says all of their t sound s.

Remember how vowels, r's and l's mess up the t and can make it into a d sound ? Well, if an n sound comes before the t, and the t is then followed by any of those sounds, the t sound might not be said at all. The place my students are usually able to notice this first are in the words winter and printer . Now, I intentionally said the t's that time.

I'll say both of those words with a t sound , and without, so you can hear the difference.

winter (t) winter (no t) printer (t) printer (no t)

Remember, the rule is that the t needs to follow an n, and come before a vowel, r sound or l sound . Here are some more examples. I'll say them all both ways, because if I only say it without the t sound , you may not even recognize the word without context. I'll leave time for you to repeat after me.

center wanted percentage identity

It is that final word, identity, that I am doing this podcast for. It isn't that the word idenity is all that important, it isn't really that high frequency of a word, but I'm doing it so I can play a little audio clip from Disney-Pixar's movie, The Incredibles . I have never, ever, found an audio clip that so perfectly demonstrates my point in so little time.

This is the opening scene from The Incredibles . Three superheroes are being interviewed, and all are asked if they have a secret identity. As in, do they disguise themselves when they are performing superhero work? Four different characters: an interviewer, Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone all have the opportunity to say that phrase "secret identity" within about 30 seconds.

Let's look closely at that phrase. First, the word "secret" ends in a t sound , in the phrase secret identity, it is followed by the long i sound because it links to the word "identity" Because the t of secret is then surrounded by vowels, it changes to a quick d sound . Listen closely.

secret identity

Did you hear it?

secret identity

Now let's look at the word identity . There are two t's in that word, if I pronounce them both, it would sound like identity . But few people would say it that way. They would not say the first t at all because it is between an n and a vowel sound. The second t is between vowel sounds, and so it turns into a quick d sound .

I'll first say the phrase with all the t's as perfect t's, then as they are normally said

secret identity secret identity

In the clip I'm going to play, you'll hear three of the four characters say the phrase in the altered t sound s. Only one character doesn't do it the same, and even that character only says one of the three t's as a perfect t sound .

Listen closely, and don't worry, I'm going to play the clip twice.

INTERVIEWER: So, Mr. Incredible...do you have a secret identity? MR. INCREDIBLE: Every superhero has a secret identity. I don't know a single one who doesn't. Who wants the pressure of being super all the time? ELASTIGIRL: Of course I have a secret identity. Can you see me in this at the supermarket? Come on. Who'd wanna go shopping as Elastigirl, y'know what I mean? FROZONE: Superladies, they're always trying to tell you their secret identity. Think it'll strengthen the relationship or something like that.

Did you hear it?

Could you hear which character said the phrase differently than the other three? It was Frozone, the last speaker, He said "secret identity". I could only speculate why he altered two of the t's and kept the third as a perfect t, so I'm not going to say why he did that. Here's the clip again:

INTERVIEWER: So, Mr. Incredible...do you have a secret identity? MR. INCREDIBLE: Every superhero has a secret identity. I don't know a single one who doesn't. Who wants the pressure of being super all the time? ELASTIGIRL: Of course I have a secret identity. Can you see me in this at the supermarket? Come on. Who'd wanna go shopping as Elastigirl, y'know what I mean? FROZONE: Superladies, they're always trying to tell you their secret identity. Think it'll strengthen the relationship or something like that.

I want you to hear the difference and be able to understand native speakers when they don't use perfect t's, and, only if you want to, learn to alter your t's as well. I'll play the clip one more time at the very end of the show, as well as put the audio up along on with the transcripts for this show, so you can listen again and again and again while you learn to hear these sounds.

Also, this is a really weird thing, but few Americans know they omit t's. If I want up to ten people and asked them to say the word "printer" they would say "printer" with a perfect t sound , probably all ten would say it as "printer." However, if I asked them another question, one where I expected the word "printer" to be in their answer, but not the focus of their answer, almost every one of them would say "printer". Believe me, I've done it. I've tried this with a lot of different words. It is my strange way of learning more about English while having fun with it.

Next week I'm planning to publish the next video podcast, and then, the following week, do a podcast about when t turns into a glottal stop. A glottal stop is the sound in the middle of uh-oh, or the first sound of a cough. A glottal stop is kind of a non-sound sound.

The transcripts for this show also include the transcripts for the scene we just listened to. So, if you're not sure what they were saying, just go to Pronuncian.com. There are also free lessons on Pronuncian.com to help you understand this material even better. And this content is in both my first and second book, since it deals with individual sounds as well as linked sounds. You can learn more while helping support this site by visiting www.pronuncian.com and buying something, or by subscribing! We rely on your purchases and subscriptions to keep the podcast coming every week, and we certainly appreciate the support.

I also want to thank the people who posted on the forums about the t as d sound . I truly appreciate the dialog that has been happening there. The forums are free and there for everyone's use, so go check them out as well.

That's all for today. Thanks for listening everyone.

This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. SLA is where the world comes to learn.

Bye-bye



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#63: When Americans omit the t sound

When do Americans omit the t sound ?

Transcript

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English Pronunciation Podcast. My name is Mandy, and this is our 63rd episode.

Two weeks ago I talked about when North Americans say a quick d sound in place of a t sound , as in the word little. I want to emphasize again that dictionaries usually don't show this alternative pronunciation, and I want to make sure you know it is an alternative, and not necessary to learn to do. Because it isn't absolutely necessary, few textbooks teach about it. But it will help you sound more casual. Let's repeat the rules for the t as a quick d sound .

Americans substitute a d sound for a t sound when the t follows a vowel or an r sound , and comes before a vowel, r sound , schwa+r, or l sound . Think about it like this, vowels, r's and l's will mess up a t sound .

Common examples are:

little water meeting

Today I'm going to tell you about when the t sound gets completely omitted, like when the word printer is said as printer . There are a few things that make this harder to notice and hear. First, when a t sound is the final sound of a word, it gets linked into the sound that follows it, which makes it hard to hear. Go to episode 52, linking from the -ed ending if you'd like a review of that concept. Secondly, when t is the final sound of a word and not getting linked to another sound, it is not fully aspirated, meaning we don't have as big of a puff of air when we release the stop, so it is harder to hear. But all of that is not what I'm talking about today. I'm not talking about making the sound smaller by linking it or not aspirating it, I'm talking about not saying it as all, especially in the middle of a word.

Americans do this to differing amounts. It really is a personal preference. But I very rarely hear a person who says all of their t sound s.

Remember how vowels, r's and l's mess up the t and can make it into a d sound ? Well, if an n sound comes before the t, and the t is then followed by any of those sounds, the t sound might not be said at all. The place my students are usually able to notice this first are in the words winter and printer . Now, I intentionally said the t's that time.

I'll say both of those words with a t sound , and without, so you can hear the difference.

winter (t) winter (no t) printer (t) printer (no t)

Remember, the rule is that the t needs to follow an n, and come before a vowel, r sound or l sound . Here are some more examples. I'll say them all both ways, because if I only say it without the t sound , you may not even recognize the word without context. I'll leave time for you to repeat after me.

center wanted percentage identity

It is that final word, identity, that I am doing this podcast for. It isn't that the word idenity is all that important, it isn't really that high frequency of a word, but I'm doing it so I can play a little audio clip from Disney-Pixar's movie, The Incredibles . I have never, ever, found an audio clip that so perfectly demonstrates my point in so little time.

This is the opening scene from The Incredibles . Three superheroes are being interviewed, and all are asked if they have a secret identity. As in, do they disguise themselves when they are performing superhero work? Four different characters: an interviewer, Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone all have the opportunity to say that phrase "secret identity" within about 30 seconds.

Let's look closely at that phrase. First, the word "secret" ends in a t sound , in the phrase secret identity, it is followed by the long i sound because it links to the word "identity" Because the t of secret is then surrounded by vowels, it changes to a quick d sound . Listen closely.

secret identity

Did you hear it?

secret identity

Now let's look at the word identity . There are two t's in that word, if I pronounce them both, it would sound like identity . But few people would say it that way. They would not say the first t at all because it is between an n and a vowel sound. The second t is between vowel sounds, and so it turns into a quick d sound .

I'll first say the phrase with all the t's as perfect t's, then as they are normally said

secret identity secret identity

In the clip I'm going to play, you'll hear three of the four characters say the phrase in the altered t sound s. Only one character doesn't do it the same, and even that character only says one of the three t's as a perfect t sound .

Listen closely, and don't worry, I'm going to play the clip twice.

INTERVIEWER: So, Mr. Incredible...do you have a secret identity? MR. INCREDIBLE: Every superhero has a secret identity. I don't know a single one who doesn't. Who wants the pressure of being super all the time? ELASTIGIRL: Of course I have a secret identity. Can you see me in this at the supermarket? Come on. Who'd wanna go shopping as Elastigirl, y'know what I mean? FROZONE: Superladies, they're always trying to tell you their secret identity. Think it'll strengthen the relationship or something like that.

Did you hear it?

Could you hear which character said the phrase differently than the other three? It was Frozone, the last speaker, He said "secret identity". I could only speculate why he altered two of the t's and kept the third as a perfect t, so I'm not going to say why he did that. Here's the clip again:

INTERVIEWER: So, Mr. Incredible...do you have a secret identity? MR. INCREDIBLE: Every superhero has a secret identity. I don't know a single one who doesn't. Who wants the pressure of being super all the time? ELASTIGIRL: Of course I have a secret identity. Can you see me in this at the supermarket? Come on. Who'd wanna go shopping as Elastigirl, y'know what I mean? FROZONE: Superladies, they're always trying to tell you their secret identity. Think it'll strengthen the relationship or something like that.

I want you to hear the difference and be able to understand native speakers when they don't use perfect t's, and, only if you want to, learn to alter your t's as well. I'll play the clip one more time at the very end of the show, as well as put the audio up along on with the transcripts for this show, so you can listen again and again and again while you learn to hear these sounds.

Also, this is a really weird thing, but few Americans know they omit t's. If I want up to ten people and asked them to say the word "printer" they would say "printer" with a perfect t sound , probably all ten would say it as "printer." However, if I asked them another question, one where I expected the word "printer" to be in their answer, but not the focus of their answer, almost every one of them would say "printer". Believe me, I've done it. I've tried this with a lot of different words. It is my strange way of learning more about English while having fun with it.

Next week I'm planning to publish the next video podcast, and then, the following week, do a podcast about when t turns into a glottal stop. A glottal stop is the sound in the middle of uh-oh, or the first sound of a cough. A glottal stop is kind of a non-sound sound.

The transcripts for this show also include the transcripts for the scene we just listened to. So, if you're not sure what they were saying, just go to Pronuncian.com. There are also free lessons on Pronuncian.com to help you understand this material even better. And this content is in both my first and second book, since it deals with individual sounds as well as linked sounds. You can learn more while helping support this site by visiting www.pronuncian.com and buying something, or by subscribing! We rely on your purchases and subscriptions to keep the podcast coming every week, and we certainly appreciate the support.

I also want to thank the people who posted on the forums about the t as d sound . I truly appreciate the dialog that has been happening there. The forums are free and there for everyone's use, so go check them out as well.

That's all for today. Thanks for listening everyone.

This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. SLA is where the world comes to learn.

Bye-bye


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