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  1. #1
    N Senbei is offline Newbie
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    Default /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Hello everyone,

    Textbooks on phonetics say /t/ and /d/ before a dental consonant (for instance /t, d/ in “eighth” or “width”) are generally realized as dental rather than alveolar consonants.
    But how about /t, d/ before an “interdental” consonant?
    I believe many native speakers of English pronounce /θ/ and /đ/ as interdental consonants (tip of the tongue is placed between the upper and lower front teeth) but not dental consonants (tip of the tongue is placed behind the upper front teeth), so do their /t/ and /d/ before /θ, đ/ turn into interdental consonants?
    I feel making an interdental stop is much harder than making a dental stop…
    Or even people who have interdental /θ/ use dental /θ/ in /tθ/ cluster so that they can pronounce both /t/ and /θ/ as dental consonants?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    I feel making an interdental stop is much harder than making a dental stop.

    I am not trained in this field, so I may be going off base here. But I think that purely dental sounds (as opposed to interdental) are by nature instantaneous and therefore not subject to the concept of stop. Interdental sounds, by contrast, are easily stopped, at least by native speakers.

    Both θ and đ are always interdental among native speakers, and pronouncing them as dental consonants is one of the most common errors that non-native speakers make.

    When a dental consonant such as /t/ or /d/ occurs before θ or đ, I think it is usually pronounced as a tiny stop. But some speakers of AmE, particularly in the mid-west, simply omit the dental sound so that width sounds pretty much like with.
    Last edited by probus; 24-May-2013 at 05:52.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Both θ and đ are always interdental among native speakers, and pronouncing them as dental consonants is one of the most common errors that non-native speakers make.
    I'm afraid not. /θ/ and /đ/ may be produced interdentally by some speakers but, particularly in BrE, they are normally dental, the tip of the tongue making light contact with the upper incisors.
    When a dental consonant such as /t/ or /d/ ...
    /t/ or /d/ are not normally dental in English. The tip or blade of the tongue makes contact with the alveolar ridge. When followed by /θ/ and /đ/ (whether these are produced dentally or interdentally), /t/ or /d/ are normally produced dentally.

  4. #4
    N Senbei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Thank you for your response, probus!

    >Interdental sounds, on the other hand, are easily stopped, at least by native speakers.<

    >When a dental consonant such as /t/ or /d/ occurs before θ or đ, I think it is usually pronounced as a tiny stop.<


    Wow, problem solved.
    Native speakers of English can easily make an interdental stop, and the sequence of a tiny interdental stop and an interdental fricative makes an affricate-like interdental consonant cluster /tθ/.
    I’m satisfied with your explanation, thanks!

    >Both θ and đ are always interdental among native speakers, and pronouncing them as dental consonants is one of the most common errors that non-native speakers make.<


    I’m sorry. I think what I wrote about “dental” was misleading (“tip of the tongue is placed behind the upper front teeth” sounds as if there were a closure or something with the tip of the tongue and the teeth).
    Below is a quotation from “A course in Phonetics” by Peter Ladefoged, and this is what I wanted to say.

    3. Dental
    (Tongue tip or blade and upper front teeth.) Say the words “thigh,” ”thy.” Some people (most speakers of American English as spoken in the Midwest and on the West Coast) have the tip of the tongue protruding between the up-per and lower front teeth; others (most speakers of British English) have it close behind the upper front teeth. Both sounds are normal in English, and both may be called dental. If a distinction is needed, sounds in which the tongue protrudes between the teeth may be called “interdental.”
    Last edited by N Senbei; 24-May-2013 at 06:34.

  5. #5
    N Senbei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Thank you for your reply, 5jj!

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    When followed by /θ/ and /đ/ (whether these are produced dentally or interdentally), /t/ or /d/ are normally produced dentally.
    Wow, because if /t/ is produced dentally before an interdental /θ/, the tongue tip has to move very quickly, so I thought it was almost impossible to make a dental /t/ + an interdental /θ/ cluster.
    Obviously I was wrong...

    By the way, I've learned a lot from your comments in this forum, thanks!
    Last edited by N Senbei; 24-May-2013 at 06:36.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Quote Originally Posted by N Senbei View Post
    if /t/ is produced dentally before an interdental /θ/, the tongue tip has to move very quickly
    No. Those people who produce a dental /t/ before an interdental /θ/ are almost certainly using the blade of the tonge for the first sound and the tip for the second. There is virtually no movement of the tongue. It is rather that the stop of the /t/ is released audibly as /θ/

  7. #7
    N Senbei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No. Those people who produce a dental /t/ before an interdental /θ/ are almost certainly using the blade of the tonge for the first sound and the tip for the second. There is virtually no movement of the tongue. It is rather that the stop of the /t/ is released audibly as /θ/
    Thank you, 5jj!
    That’s really a great answer!
    Yes, dental /t/ can be articulated laminally!
    Somehow I thought every /t/ has to be apical, and I was just practicing moving my tongue tip as fast as I can…

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Carolina1983 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: /t/ and /d/ before an “interdental” consonant

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No. Those people who produce a dental /t/ before an interdental /θ/ are almost certainly using the blade of the tonge for the first sound and the tip for the second. There is virtually no movement of the tongue. It is rather that the stop of the /t/ is released audibly as /θ/

    Hello! So it´s pretty much one tongue position? That is, you use the blade to make the alveolar sound at the same time that you make the interdental one, with its tip?

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