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  1. #1
    kimberly07 is offline Newbie
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    Default The consonant clusters /t//­/

    I have difficulty in pronouncing these consonant clusters, such as in the phrase "invent the wheel". My question is, is there an audible release of air for the /t/? And what is the position of the tongue? Normally, for /t/ the tip of the tongue is on the gum ridge, and for /­/ behind the upper front teeth or between the front teeth. Should I adjust the position of the tongue for /t/ in this consonant cluster?
    I hope someone will enlighten me on this matter.

  2. #2
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: The consonant clusters /t//­/

    Quote Originally Posted by kimberly07 View Post
    I have difficulty in pronouncing these consonant clusters, such as in the phrase "invent the wheel". My question is, is there an audible release of air for the /t/? And what is the position of the tongue? Normally, for /t/ the tip of the tongue is on the gum ridge, and for /­/ behind the upper front teeth or between the front teeth. Should I adjust the position of the tongue for /t/ in this consonant cluster?
    I hope someone will enlighten me on this matter.
    There is rarely a release of air after the /t/, except in the most careful of speech. I suspect that in many speakers - though most would deny it with various degrees of vehemence () - there is either a glottal stop or a constriction of the glottis that doesn't make it all the way to being a stop. Be that as it may, it's not something that's worth trying to copy. But there is some kind of stop (even if it is only the dental one).

    As for tongue position, there isn't time to make a conscious slide from one position to the next. When I produce this cluster, the tongue-tip doesn't move forward, but the tongue bunches up a bit in a forward direction.

    b

  3. #3
    kimberly07 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The consonant clusters /t//­/

    BobK, thank you for the prompt answer.
    Much as I would like to copy a glottal stop, I can't. So, when you say that it might be a dental stop, does it mean that the tongue tip is behind the upper teeth for /t/ too? Is it ever on the gum ridge?

  4. #4
    kimberly07 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The consonant clusters /t//­/

    This is what I found in the book "English Accents and Dialects" by Hughes, Trudgill and Watt:
    "The place of articulation of the alveolar plosives /t,d/ is strongly influenced by that of a following consonant. Before /θ/ (in eighth, for example) /t/ will be dental..."
    I suppose, this goes for /­/ too. The question answered.

  5. #5
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The consonant clusters /t//­/

    A phrase such as 'George VI's throne' (George the Sixth's throne) would be very difficult for most native speakers.

    A careful speaker would pronounce the word in bold as /sɪksθs/, but most speakers in normal conversation would reduce it to /sɪks/.

    In fact, a sensible speaker would almost certainly avoid this by saying 'the throne of George VI' (The throne of George the Sixth); the word in bold would be /sɪksθ/ - or, more likely, /sɪkθ/

  6. #6
    kimberly07 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The consonant clusters /t//­/

    This phrase is really difficult, I don't aspire to get my tongue around it. But /t/ before dental consonants is fairly common, and I can't get it right. When I hear a native speaker pronounce this cluster, /t/ sounds quite distinct. How do you do it if there's no release of air? Perhaps, it is this ubiquitos glottal stop again

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The consonant clusters /t//­/

    Quote Originally Posted by kimberly07 View Post
    This phrase is really difficult, I don't aspire to get my tongue around it. But /t/ before dental consonants is fairly common, and I can't get it right. When I hear a native speaker pronounce this cluster, /t/ sounds quite distinct. How do you do it if there's no release of air? Perhaps, it is this ubiquitos glottal stop again
    Unreleased plosives are common in spoken English at the end of an utterance.

    It's very hot. The tongue does not leave the alveolar ridge.
    I'd like a cup. The lips stay closed.
    I'll be back. The tongue does not leave the velum.

    When /t/ is followed closely by /­/, you may think you hear the /t/ distinctly, but, as Bob said, the release is rarely there.

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