American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

GA /t,d/ are usually alveolar, while AN /t,d/ are typically denti-alveolar. While for GA /t,d/ the tip and blade of the tongue articulate with the area immediately behind the upper front teeth without touching them, the contact for Dutch /t,d/ is generally further forward: the tip touches the inside of the upper teeth and the blade touches a larger area of the alveolar ridge. In producing an alveolar stop, ry to make a conscious effort to place the tip of the tongue slightly further back than in Dutch. When aspirated, GA /t/ is frequently released slowly so that weak friction is produced, so try to pronounce a weak [s] as you release the /t/: [tˢ].

The actual place of articulation of GA /t,d/ as well as the other alveolars /n,l/ may vary a lot under the influence of neighboring sounds. Before /r/, GA /t,d/ are post-alveolar, as in Try Dry! They are dental before, and sometimes after, a dental consonant, as in eighth, width, bathtub. Here are some examples to practice the main allophones of GA /t,d/.

[tʰ]                    tea, tool, latex, return, eighteen, intend, syntax, veto


[t]                     still, stop, restore, instep, after, actor


[ɾ]                     putting, pudding, metal, medal, hit Ann, setup, hurtle, hurdle


[t̪], [d̪]               eighth, width, at three, you’d think


[t̠], [d̠]               try, dry, entry, undress


[t͜ʔ], [ʔ]             sit, out, button, sits, hint, can’t, commitment


[d̥]                    red, laid, headphones, birthday, watchdog