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  1. #11
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    If you are confused, concentrate on these two posts:

    Thatone: Start by making the t by touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue, but do not make the "popping" sound, i.e. do not take the tongue off the roof. Instead, from that position, immediately make the next consonant.

    BobK: What you're hearing, then, is not a glottal stop, but nasal plosion. Look here Talk:Allophone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and scroll down to 'Examples of the different allophonic processes'. In short, the tongue makes a closure and then the air pressure is released through the nose. It happens both with N as you've noticed (in 'eaten' and 'latin') and with M in words like 'system'.

    5jj: Bob’s example with /m/ is not quite as clear. The transition from /t/ to /n/ can be made with the tongue remaining in firm contact with the alveolar ridge (the bump behind your top teeth), so that no vowel sound is made.

    During the transition from /t/ to /m/, the tongue leaves the alveolar ridge as the lips close, and a a slight neutral vowel/ə/ is heard.

    A better example is the transition from /t/ to /l/, as in bottle. As with /n/, the tongue does not leave the alveolar ridge, and no true vowel is produced.

    In all of these examples, I am describing the situation in which the tongue touches the alveoloar ridge for /t/. It is also possible to use a glottal stop instead of /t/. Then a slight /ə/ is often heard.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    ...
    During the transition from /t/ to /m/, the tongue leaves the alveolar ridge as the lips close, and a a slight neutral vowel/ə/ is heard. Good point.

    A better example is the transition from /t/ to /l/, as in bottle. As with /n/, the tongue does not leave the alveolar ridge, and no true vowel is produced.

    ...
    And that's lateral plosion -not mentioned in that Wikipedia article (which isn't very helpful - apologies for citing it ). The air pressure is released not through the nose but at either side of the tongue.

    b

    PS Going back to DA's original question, about whether there's a rule, I haven't met one and am not aware of one. The writer of that article mentions this (rather shrilly ) towards the end of the article:
    ...The insidiousness of it is that the native speaker cannot really pinpoint for the non-native what the problem is except to say unhelpful things like "try harder" or "listen carefully," followed by "no, that's not it. no, that's not it. yeah, that's it! no, that's not it - say it like you said it before! no, that's not it." ...
    The 'simple' (that is, hard for students) fact is that some words have it ('button', 'mutton'...) and some words don't (as in the placename 'Luton' - in which there's a schwa [preceded, sometimes, by a glottal stop]). It's possible that it varies from speaker to speaker; for example, I don't do it with 'latin', but I gather from DA's post that some people do. I'll think further about this.
    Last edited by BobK; 02-Dec-2010 at 13:11. Reason: Added PS

  3. #13
    DreamingAnn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    I've checked this topic from several previous threads and other webpages. And I concluded that it's quite controvertial, especially the name of this phenomenon. (glottal stop or nasal plosion?) Somebody even said that glottal stop and nasal plosion occurs simultaneously!
    I've watched the video thatone recommended, in which it was called glottal stop. There was no problem with the pronuciation there, BUT I am not convinced by their explanation. Something about cut the air in your throat and you can pronounce the word. No, it simply doesn't work for me.
    Because "m" and "n" are nasal consonants indeed, I guess I probably prefer its expanation and the name nasal plosion. (or maybe simultaneously? )

    Well, no matter what it is called, I've been trying to imitate it these days. Now, I can pronounce some of the words quite successful, like "important" (maybe because the syllable is short?), yet others not quite satisfying.

  4. #14
    thatone is offline Member
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    Well, I've never heard it called "nasal release," but glottal stop. Anyway, moving on...

    BobK, I don't think it's as common in the UK as it is in the US. At least in RP it isn't, AFAIK. Though perhaps I've heard it in accents like Russell Brand's.

    DreamingAnn, if you're still having trouble I found a nice Podcast with step-by-step, simple instructions on how to make it, here. It does sound a little weird at first-making the sound I mean- but you'll get used to it. I don't know what kind of words you're having trouble with, but if you can say fountain /faʊn?n/ and mountain/moʊn?n/, the most confusing kind IMO, you made it.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamingAnn View Post
    I've checked this topic from several previous threads and other webpages. And I concluded that it's quite controvertial, especially the name of this phenomenon. (glottal stop or nasal plosion?) Somebody even said that glottal stop and nasal plosion occurs simultaneously!
    ...
    They can. The two expressions don't refer to a single phenomenon.. The glottal stop is a more-or-less instantaneous event that occurs in the glottis. Nasal plosion is a way of joining together two consonantal sounds, and occurs in the mouth and nose. (As that Wikipedia article says, many native speakers are not aware of nasal plosion.)

    If you make a glottal stop, it's easy to combine it with nasal plosion - just by keeping your mouth shut! The air has nowhere to go, so has to escape through the nose.

    b

    PS Strictly my last sentence is an over-simplification. When a /t/ has nasal plosion, the tongue is positioned as thatone said, and the air pressure is released behind the stop and up through the nose. Given that the glottis is downstream of the passage into the nasal cavity, the air can't be released behind the closure. But, as I presume the unnamed writer meant, a /t/ can be realized with nasal plosion and reinforced by a glottal stop. Try saying 'button' with a glottal stop and simultaneously make the noise often referred to as 'clearing your throat' - often represented in writing as 'ahem'.
    Last edited by BobK; 04-Dec-2010 at 14:49. Reason: Added PS

  6. #16
    kamalmuo is offline Newbie
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  7. #17
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    The earlier discussion indicates that this video doesn't answer all DA's questions. This one adds a bit:
    YouTube - Lesson 14 - Glottal Stop - English Pronunciation

    (I don't know if either video discusses nasal plosion.)

    b

  8. #18
    DreamingAnn is offline Newbie
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    Thumbs up Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    Oh, A BIG THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!! I truely appreciate all of your discussions, suggestions, and explanations!!!
    Though I still can't apply those theories to my practice completely, but it becomes more and more clear to me. After all, I think the best way to learn it is from imitation.


    P.S.:
    to BobK: the video you linked above is the same one as thatone's. But after your finally explanation about the simultaneous theory, I think I got a better understanding of it.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamingAnn View Post
    Oh, A BIG THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!! I truely appreciate all of your discussions, suggestions, and explanations!!! You're welcome.
    ...
    to BobK: the video you linked above is the same one as thatone's. But after your finally explanation about the simultaneous theory, I think I got a better understanding of it.
    Sorry - I didn't check, as my broadband is painfully slow.

    b

  10. #20
    DreamingAnn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "T" in eaten, latin, and certain

    Oh, thanks for your correction, BobK!

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