Not to be confused with the bright, occlusive butterfly of love.
Bob is right. It's not quite a /d/ sound. There are a few reasons Americans might use the sound in the word that and similar situations: a) they are from the Bronx (a New York suburb), and have the remnants of the original Harlem (Haarlem) Dutch accent, in which dat was how they said it; b) Italian-Americans in Bronx and New Jersey use this pronunciation, and unfortunately the stereotype in mafia movies such as "A Bronx Tale" and "Casino" glorify both the tough guy image and the accent; c) southern Blacks use that pronuncation in some regions, because slaves from West Africa, like the Dutch, didn't have the phoneme we ordinarily use; d) some young people emulate that Black accent and / or that Bronx accent in order to sound macho.
But I'm still a bit confused. 'Cause I've heard people of other backgrounds say "Dee" and "Dat" . Are they just mimicing Black accent?
Example 1: In the movie Devil Wears Prada, When Emily and her girlfriend were talking and laughing about Andy's bad taste on clothes, Andy entered the office dressed in name brand clothes and looked gorgeous. And Emily asked her enviously :"Are you wearing dee......?" And Andy answered "Yes, THE channel boots"
Emily , both the role and the actress, is British. To be precise, she's Londoner.
Example 2: Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, is a Chinese American(He's from Taiwan). He spent his first 3 years in America in a private school in backland Kentucky and learnt his English there. The other day I saw an interview of his on Charlie Rose show and he keeps saying "dee" or "dat" too.
Most Chinese, regardless of the province they originally come from, do have a little difficulty pronouncing "the". But they wouldn't pronounce it as "dee" 'cause they sound so differently to us. Plus most Chinese Americans brought up overseas have no difficulty pronouncing that word. Jen-Hsun Huang's English pronounciation is perfect in my opinion, why does he have problems with "the"?
Were Huang and Emily Blunt just emulating Black/Bronx accent to sound macho?? But Emily Blunt is a girl.
Feel free to pick errors from my posts. Thanks:)
In lots of the youngest generation and the influx of other nationalities, the answer I believe to your first point is that "Rasta" or Ratafarian lingo is being heard more and more. Using this the is pronounced da.
On your second point I suspect you are maybe hearing "verily" and not a deviation from very. This is an old word and is used in Shakespear.
No, I think Charlie is right. How many people in the UK actually speak like the Queen? I'd say 5%. And in North America, how many people sound like Alex Trebek, or Dan Rather? Certainly not a majority, except perhaps in cities around the Great Lakes, like us. In other regions, it's really quite few. Granted, the differences are subtler than in the UK, but still, quite few. Jimmy Carter spoke with a regional accent, as did both Bushes, and Bill Clinton. So did Kennedy. Gore and Reagan sound standard. Quayle and Edwards don't. And so on.
I as wellwisher tell u dat i often listen english song in songs the people speak that as dat & older people normally have that problen like granny speks like dat