In British English, is /tr/ pronounced as /tʃr/ as well?

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thincat

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Hi,

Recently, I have found a video on Youtube, demonstrating the American pronunciation of /tr/ as /tʃr/. It makes me wonder if it is necessary in British English, especially more "standard" accent, to pronounce /tr/ as /tʃr/? If I do not do so, will I sound "foreign"?

Here is the video:
How to Pronounce the TR Consonant Cluster - American English - YouTube
Thank you! :)
 

5jj

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It makes me wonder if it is necessary in British English, especially more "standard" accent, to pronounce /tr/ as /tʃr/? If I do not do so, will I sound "foreign"?
No and no. Indeed, if you consciously try to pronounce the 'tr' in 'try' as /tʃr/ you will almost certainly sound unnatural.
 

thincat

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Thanks a lot! I guess this is also a distinction between American and British English. :)
 

5jj

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Thanks a lot! I guess this is also a distinction between American and British English. :)
I don't think so. In both varieties, the the tongue is farther back on the alveolar ridge for the t in 'try' than for the one in 'tie'; the resultant sound in 'try' may therefore may have some slight /tʃr/-ness about it. However, it would be a mistake to consciously attempt to pronounce the /tr/ sound as /tʃr/.
 

konungursvia

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It's a good question. We certainly start such TR- words with CHR-, as in /tʃr/. I wonder if we couldn't use different symbols for various /t/ like sounds here in different geolects.
 

5jj

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We certainly start such TR- words with CHR-, as in /tʃr/.
Wha are 'we'? I don't.

I agree with Davilla’s response here:

Question: All dictionaries that I know of use /tr/ in the phonetical spelling of words such as "trash", "trail", and "true". I believe the actual pronunciation is with a ch sound or something similar. I'm wondering if the distinction in my ears might be a result of a slight accustomization to the Mandarin spoken around me. In other words, am I hearing something now that most English speakers cannot hear, or that they simply have not noticed?[...]
Response: The pronunciation /tʃræʃ/ is considered to be incorrect (and even illiterate) in standard English. Careful speakers still say /træʃ/. However, /tʃræʃ/ is standard in Cockney and some other accents and dialects. Davilla
 

Tdol

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I think Davilla may be overstating the case when s/he use the term illiterate.
 

5jj

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I think Davilla may be overstating the case when s/he use the term illiterate.
Particularly when she is commenting on the spoken word!

I should have made it clear that my agreement was only with the idea that it is considered incorrect in standard English.

Having thought about it more, I think that even 'incorrect' may be a little strong. However, I do consider it non-standard, and I stand by my "Indeed, if you consciously try to pronounce the 'tr' in 'try' as /tʃr/ you will almost certainly sound unnatural". I think some people are confusing what they think they hear with what is actually produced.

I have had trainees swear that they pronounce the word 'handbag' with /nd/ before a the /b/, and almost call me a liar when I have said that they have just listened to me use /m/. I have had to use recordings to demonstrate that I (and they!) actually produce /m/ there in normal conversation . This is a bit of a reversal of the situation with the 'tr' blend but, as both Wells (LPD) and Roach (EPD) do record the /m/ for handbag and do not record the /tʃ/ for 'try', I have faith in my views of the pronunciation of 'try' - in standard British English.
 

Tdol

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Interesting point- I will listen out for this one, but I can hear /tʃr/ in my head without it being a particular dialect or regional form. I may have been abroad too long. ;-)
 

konungursvia

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Sorry, I assumed people knew from context that I meant we speakers of AmE; I don't think I can remember hearing anyone here in North America not pronouncing TR words as /tʃr/.

Wha are 'we'? I don't.

I agree with Davilla’s response here:

Question: All dictionaries that I know of use /tr/ in the phonetical spelling of words such as "trash", "trail", and "true". I believe the actual pronunciation is with a ch sound or something similar. I'm wondering if the distinction in my ears might be a result of a slight accustomization to the Mandarin spoken around me. In other words, am I hearing something now that most English speakers cannot hear, or that they simply have not noticed?[...]
Response: The pronunciation /tʃræʃ/ is considered to be incorrect (and even illiterate) in standard English. Careful speakers still say /træʃ/. However, /tʃræʃ/ is standard in Cockney and some other accents and dialects. Davilla
 

konungursvia

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I'm not sure you can consider spoken RP to be a "standard English" when the English-speaking world is actually quite a democratic quilt of regional varieties, many of which vastly outnumber speakers of RP.

Particularly when she is commenting on the spoken word!

I should have made it clear that my agreement was only with the idea that it is considered incorrect in standard English.

Having thought about it more, I think that even 'incorrect' may be a little strong. However, I do consider it non-standard, and I stand by my "Indeed, if you consciously try to pronounce the 'tr' in 'try' as /tʃr/ you will almost certainly sound unnatural". I think some people are confusing what they think they hear with what is actually produced.

I have had trainees swear that they pronounce the word 'handbag' with /nd/ before a the /b/, and almost call me a liar when I have said that they have just listened to me use /m/. I have had to use recordings to demonstrate that I (and they!) actually produce /m/ there in normal conversation . This is a bit of a reversal of the situation with the 'tr' blend but, as both Wells (LPD) and Roach (EPD) do record the /m/ for handbag and do not record the /tʃ/ for 'try', I have faith in my views of the pronunciation of 'try' - in standard British English.
 

5jj

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I assumed people knew from context that I meant we speakers of AmE; I don't think I can remember hearing anyone here in North America not pronouncing TR words as /tʃr/.
And I am speaking only of standard BrE.
 
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