Pronunciation of "T
Pronunciation of "T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American T

The American T is influenced very strongly by intonation and its position in a word or phrase. It can be a little tricky if you try to base your pronunciation on spelling alone.

There are, however, 4 basic rules: [T is T], [T is D], [T is Silent], [T is Held].
 

1 Beginning of a Word [T is T]
If the T is at the beginning of a word (or the top of the staircase), it is a strong, clear T sound.

  1. In the beginning of a word: table, take, tomorrow, teach, ten, turn Thomas tried two times.
  2. With a stressed T and ST, TS, TR, CT, LT and sometimes NT combinations: They control the contents.
  3. In the past tense, D sounds like T, after an unvoiced consonant sound — f, k, p, s, ch, sh, th (but not T).
    picked [pikt], hoped [houpt], raced [rast], watched [wächt], washed [wäsht]

    It took Tim ten times to try the telephone.


2 Middle of a Word [T is D]

If the T is in the middle of the word, intonation changes the sound to a soft D.
Letter sounds like [ledder].

Water, daughter, bought a, caught a, lot of, got a, later, meeting, better

Practice these sentences: 

 

3 [T is Silent]
T and N are so close in the mouth that the [t] can disappear.

 

What a good idea. [w'd' güdäi deey']
Put it in a bottle. [pü di di n' bäd'l]
Get a better water heater. [gedda bedder wäder heeder]
Put all the data in the computer. [püdall the dayd' in the k'mpyuder]
Patty ought to write a better letter. [pædy äd' ride a bedder ledder]

 

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interview [innerview]
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international [innernational]
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advantage [ædvæn'j]
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percentage [percen'j]

If the T is at the end of a word, you almost don't hear it at all.

 

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put, what, lot, set, hot, sit, shot, brought.
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That's quite right, isn't it?
 
 
4 End of a Word [T is Held]
With -tain, -tten and some TN combinations, the T is held. The "held T" is, strictly speaking, not really a T at all. Remember, [t] and [n] are very close in the mouth. If you have [n] immediately after [t], you don't pop the [t]—the tongue is in the [t] position, but your release the air for the [n] not the [t]. Make sure you don't put a schwa before the [n]. An important point to remember is that you need a sharp upward sliding intonation up to the "held T," then a quick drop for the N.

 

Written, certain, forgotten, sentence:

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He's forgotten the carton of satin mittens.
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She's certain that he has written it.
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Martin has gotten a kitten.

 

MR HAMZAOUI
 
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