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  1. #1
    thincat is offline Member
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    consonant cluster /sts/

    Hi,

    I have some questions about the consonant cluster /sts/, as in “motorists,” “cyclists,” and “texts.”

    1. When pronouncing /sts/, do native speakers sometimes elide the /t/ in-between? I find that native speakers seem to pronounce the cluster as something like “/s/ + short pause + /ts/” or sometimes “/s/ + short pause + /s/.” “I have made two recordings of the three words, ““motorists,” “cyclists,” and “texts,” one with /t/ and the other one without. Are they both acceptable?
    motorists_cyclisst_texts_without_t.mp3
    motorists_cyclist_texts_with_t.mp3

    2. Do native speakers simply reduce /sts/ into /s/ in causal speech? At first, I think such pronunciation is incorrect. But, to my surprise, when I was listening to 6 Minute English from BBCLearningEnglish.com, I at times hear the speakers pronounce “cyclists” as /ˈsaɪklɪs/ rather than /ˈsaɪklɪsts/ at 0:30, 1:59, 2:08, 2:27, 2:58, 3:01, 3:37, 3:54, 4:25 of the recording. Here is the link to the recording: Learning English - 6 Minute English - War on the roads

    I would appreciate it very much I you would help me with these questions. I would already be grateful if you would at least answer the first one, as I know that it may take you more time to tackle the second one. Thank you very much!
    Last edited by thincat; 17-Jan-2013 at 08:35.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: consonant cluster /sts/

    Saying any word quite slowly makes it sound quite odd, but the main issue I found with your recordings was that in both of them, the word "cyclists" sounded like you were saying "cyclixts".

    I don't agree that it sounds like "s + short pause + ts". When I say those words, the "sts" is definitely one sound at the end. With "cyclists", it almost sounds like "cy + cli + sts".

    With the 6 Minute English piece, I haven't finished listening to it, but you are right that it is pronounced differently by the two speakers. The most obvious one so far is when the woman says "Some people think the cyclists are to blame" (I think that was it). She has clipped the word so much that it seems to have no ending at all!
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  3. #3
    thincat is offline Member
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    Re: consonant cluster /sts/

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Saying any word quite slowly makes it sound quite odd, but the main issue I found with your recordings was that in both of them, the word "cyclists" sounded like you were saying "cyclixts".

    I don't agree that it sounds like "s + short pause + ts". When I say those words, the "sts" is definitely one sound at the end. With "cyclists", it almost sounds like "cy + cli + sts".

    With the 6 Minute English piece, I haven't finished listening to it, but you are right that it is pronounced differently by the two speakers. The most obvious one so far is when the woman says "Some people think the cyclists are to blame" (I think that was it). She has clipped the word so much that it seems to have no ending at all!
    Thanks a lot for your comments. For the word, "cyclists" I will try to amend the necessay /k/ sound. Perhaps it's due to my accent. :) But as for the other two words, do you mean that they are both acceptable, especially for the /sts/, in both recordings? But perhaps the differences are too subtle to be heard.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Re: consonant cluster /sts/

    Quote Originally Posted by thincat View Post
    But as for the other two words, do you mean that they are both acceptable, especially for the /sts/, in both recordings?
    To be honest, I don't hear a huge difference between the first and the second audio file. I agree with emsr2d2 - I hear the 'sts' sound in 'motorists' and 'cyclists' as one sound.

    Listen to the recording attached to this message to hear how I say 'motorists'. Transcript:

    Motorists, motorists, motorists. In many countries, even after passing one's driving test, new motorists may be initially subject to special restrictions.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. #5
    thincat is offline Member
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    Re: consonant cluster /sts/

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    To be honest, I don't hear a huge difference between the first and the second audio file. I agree with emsr2d2 - I hear the 'sts' sound in 'motorists' and 'cyclists' as one sound.

    Listen to the recording attached to this message to hear how I say 'motorists'. Transcript:

    Motorists, motorists, motorists. In many countries, even after passing one's driving test, new motorists may be initially subject to special restrictions.
    Thanks a lot for your recording, Chicken Sandwich! Love it!

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