|Pronunciations of T|
|DIFFERENT PRONUNCIATIONS OF THE CONSONANT / t /|
One of the things that make English difficult to understand is the different pronunciations of one of its most common consonants: the English - T - is supposed to be pronounced tapping the tip of your tongue tight against the alveolus (a bit behind your upper teeth). When we pronounce it there is an explosion.
0- T = / t /
Well, that's the theory, but in practice, most of the times the pronunciation is different. These are the other 4 possibilities you may find and when they usually take place:
1- v + T + v = / D /
when the T goes between vowels it is often pronounced like a quick /d/ (like the R sound in the Spanish or Italian "cara"). In BrE it happens often, in AmE it happens always. e.g. better, fighter, sitting, "but I ..." (you can find lots of examples of this in the song Stitches).
2- T + / j / = /tʃ/ (T+Y=CH)
When T is followed by the sound / j /, both sounds mix together and make one new sound. The sound / j / is often written with the letter Y (as in "You" or "plaYer"). e.g. "but you..." (pronounced "buchoo"), question (= kweschon) The sound / j / is often found in the pronunciation of the letter U. For instance, CUTE is pronounced /kju:t/ (= kyoot), so T+U often produces this result. e.g. "future" (pronounced "fyoocha")
3- -T = / ʔ /
When T is not followed by a vowel, it is often pronounced closing your throat suddenly, instead of using the tip of your tongue, especially at the end of words (most common in BrE but also happens a lot in AmE).
e.g. what, cat, foot
(in Scottish, colloquial BrE and some dialects, you may find that sound in between vowels too!)
4- T = / d /
Sometimes it's pronounced with the tip of your tongue but there is not the expected explosion, so it sounds like / d /. That happens especially at the end of words and before some consonants.
OTHER PRONUNCIATIONS YOU MAY FIND
/ n / + T = / n /
After the sound / n /, / t / may disappear. It happens a lot in AmE (especially in some areas), and it may happen sometimes in BrE (but only in grammatical words like "don't", "won't", etc). This happens sometimes after / s / too ("just", "first") both in BrE and AmE.
e.g. interesting (pronounced "ineresting", only AmE) This is what produces the colloquial expressions: wanna (= want to / want a) and gonna (= going to), very common in colloquial speech (esp. in AmE).
T+T = T
Of course, if you see two letters T in a word, you must pronounce only one /t/ (as in "better"), but the same may also happen if a word ends in T and the next one begins with T (as in "at two o'clock"). In that case you may pronounce a double T or just one T if you're speaking fast.
Now you can watch this video to hear all the different varieties of English you just learnt.