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?
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!