The American T has many sounds
My accent reduction coaching clients often ask me,
“Susan, I’ve noticed that you say your T sounds differently than I do. Why does the T have different sounds in American English?”
Here is the answer…
The 4 sounds of the American T
In spoken American English, the letter T makes at least 4 different sounds. These are:
- The tapped T
- The dropped T
- The held T
- The aspirated T
In this post I’ll tell you about the tapped t sound.
The tapped T sound
The tapped T sounds more like a quick /d/ than a /t/.
To make the tapped t sound, let your tongue lightly tap against the gum ridge behind your teeth.
Do not release a puff of air when you make this sound.
You’ll hear Americans use a tapped T sound in these situations:
- When a T comes before er, or & ar as in the words: later, doctor & water.
- When a T comes before ing & ed as in the words: shouting & shouted.
- When a T comes before Y as in the words: city & thirty.
- When linking words in phrases such as: eat out & cut out.
Why should you use the tapped t sound?
Here are four reasons you should use the tapped t sound when you speak American English.
- Using the tapped t sound will enable you to lengthen your stressed vowel sounds more effectively!
- That will make your words sound more clear.
- Using the tapped t sound will make your speech sound smoother.
- Using the tapped t sound will make it easier for you to link & blend words together.
I can show you how
The American T sounds are easy to learn.
The people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching programs are always pleased with how quickly they’re able to integrate the American T sounds into their speech.
If you’re an international professional, who’d like to learn how to pronounce the American T sounds, check out my training programs at the link below.
My training programs will teach you how speak American English in a way that your colleagues will respect and understand!
About the author
Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.