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  1. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #11

    Re: I'm totally confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Ice-Kagen View Post
    That's precisely why I think she encourages us to mix up accents, even though she says we must not do it.
    Mixing accents will sound odd, getting used to hearing different accents is good.

  2. Newbie
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    #12

    Re: I'm totally confused

    Does she use the flap T herself between two vowel sounds? Words like matter and better will tell the tale. Almost all Americans use it. If she does, it's a case of "Do as I say, not as I do." It would seem then as if she wants you to learn a version of English that she has idealized for some reason. If you accept her advice you will wind up sounding stilted or foreign rather than like a native speaker of AmE. There's nothing wrong with that, but it may not be what you want.
    She definitely does, except sometimes when she tries to force herself. Most teachers at my university don't want us to use flap Ts, because they say using them sounds more informal. Yet, I hear all Americans use them, even in formal situations. Do they really sound that informal?

  3. Newbie
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    #13

    Re: I'm totally confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Ice-Kagen View Post
    She definitely does, except sometimes when she tries to force herself. Most teachers at my university don't want us to use flap Ts, because they say using them sounds more informal. Yet, I hear all Americans use them, even in formal situations. Do they really sound that informal?
    In my observation, yes, generally speaking, all Americans use the flap T /t̬/, even in formal situations, and no, generally speaking, this usage doesn't sound informal in AmE. But one can find intervening factors and examples as I note below based on Szynalski (n.d.). The answer then becomes, there are apparently cases of the use of the flap T that are informal and probably avoided in formal speech. The flap T after /l/ is "careless" and "not recommended" (Szynalski, n.d.).

    It would be interesting if an aspect of this could be explained in some regard. I would say that one indicator that this usage doesn't sound informal in AmE is that, as far as I have seen, most or virtually all AmE speakers are generally unaware that the use of the flap T /t̬/ could even be interpreted as an informal usage. By contrast, a classic informal usage that is generally recognized as informal by most or virtually all AmE speakers is "gonna" -- When are you gonna go? Informal or formal sanctions can be imposed in schools for the use of "gonna," and parents may encourage children not to use “gonna.” In addition, one can see in the US in various informal contexts, such as comic books, the use and spelling of the word "gonna."

    By contrast, there is no discussion that I have heard indicating to students that an informal usage, and there is no written usage in informal contexts of this usage, such as "You had bedder go now." While there are informal sanctions or reprimands in certain circumstances in the social system for users of, say, "gonna," no such sanctions exist for users of the flap T /t̬/.

    This view can be modified to say there may be contested grounds regarding the use of the flap T /t̬/. The numbers thirty, forty, and eighty are examples of uncontested uses of the flap T /t̬/. But perhaps the use of the flap T /t̬/ has spilled over to other numbers, such as ninety, where the use of the flap T /t̬/ falls outside of the rules of the use of the flap T /t̬/. The rules seems to be as follows:

    The t becomes a flap t when the t is not in a stressed syllable and 1) r + t+ vowel sound (the t is between an r and vowel sound); 2) vowel sound +t + vowel sound (the t is between two vowel sounds). There may be other rules, such as vowel sound +t + l, but I think this rule falls under 2) vowel sound +t + vowel sound because the l, such as in the case of little, is /ˈlɪt̬əl/ where the letter l is really /əl/.

    I don’t understand how ninety may or may not be in the flap T category, and so this may be an informal usage of the flap t, and there may be informal sanctions associated with its usage. I am mentioning all of this for the sake of discussion as it may be of interest. Szynalski (n.d.) presents an interesting discussion.

    According to the Szynalski (n.d.), the flap T after /l/ is "careless" and "not recommended," and so now complicating factors can be observed regarding the question whether the flap T is used in formal situations and whether the flap T sounds very informal. There are cases where it appears informal and speakers in formal situations probably avoid it.

    Reference

    Szynalski, T.P. (n.d.).
    Flap T FAQ. Retrieved 12-5-2019 from http://www.antimoon.com/how/flap-t.htm
    Last edited by rompercabeza; 05-Dec-2019 at 23:37.

  4. Newbie
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    #14

    Re: I'm totally confused

    Thank you for the link rompercabeza. I already saw that page when I was studying phonetics and it was very useful. I know the rules for when to use flap Ts, but I still need to practice, because in some words, it's a bit difficult to pronounce for me(especially when it comes after a t), so it's pretty frustrating not to be allowed to use that sound. I would never use it after an /l/, but my teacher doesn't even want us to use that sound in words like "better" for example. Once, we had to practice the tongue twister "Betty Botter" and she insisted that she didn't want to hear it with flap Ts. Or, there was also that time when I had to record myself and then transcribe everything. She wrote a /t/ on my transcription, just because I had used flap Ts.
    Last edited by Ice-Kagen; 08-Dec-2019 at 11:30.

  5. Moderator
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    #15

    Re: I'm totally confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Ice-Kagen View Post
    I would never use it after an /l/, but my teacher doesn't even want us to use that sound in words like "better" for example. Once, we had to practice the tongue twister "Betty Botter" and she insisted that she didn't want to hear with flap Ts. Or, there was also that time when I had to record myself and then transcribe everything. She wrote a /t/ on my transcription, just because I had used flap Ts.
    Your teacher is not teaching English as it's spoken by actual Americans, evidently including her. I'm sorry.

    On the plus side, not using flapped Ts won't impede comprehension at all.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: I'm totally confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Ice-Kagen View Post
    She definitely does, except sometimes when she tries to force herself. Most teachers at my university don't want us to use flap Ts, because they say using them sounds more informal. Yet, I hear all Americans use them, even in formal situations. Do they really sound that informal?
    I don't think it's formal or informal. I think it just has to do with speech habits.

    I guess all Americans includes me. Hm.
    Not a professional teacher

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