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Should the consonant sound t be pronounced

Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 by Positivevoice

During last week's Facebook live, i talked about the consonant sound 't'.

One of the greatest mistakes that people make when it comes to the pronunciation of this one little consonant is over pronouncing it, the other is not pronouncing it at all!

The rules:

Pronounce t:

  • at the beginning of a word: teach.
  • in the middle of a word: butter.
  • at the end of a word when it's followed by a comma or a full stop: 'That's it.' "When i do it, she listens".
  • at the end of a word when the following word begins with a vowel- 'That-is interesting'. Here the 't' flows effortlessly into the vowel.
  • at the end of a word when the following word begins with a 'w': 'That-was interesting' (however, you don't strictly speaking, have to pronounce the 't' here, as it can flow into the 'w': 'tha-was'

Not Pronounced:

  • Words ending in a t, blend into words beginning with a consonant

'That thought you had about that theatre play... was it a positive thought?

The 't' at the end of the word 'that' blends into the 'th' in thought 'tha-thought'. There is a tiny pause that lengthens 'tha' slightly.
  • When one word ending in 't' is followed by another word beginning with 't', 'not to', we only pronounce the 't' once 'no-to' (unless, of course, there is a natural pause or the word requires emphasis).
An aside:
  • the 't' at the end of the word 'thought' can be pronounced as we emphasise this word, which gives us license to pause and when we pause after a word, we do not blend one sound into the next.
  • If you were to pronounce the 't' in 'that thought', you would need to emphasise both words, which can sound a little robotic.

On an entirely different note, a lot of people with regional accents, in the UK, only pronounce a 't' when it comes at the beginning of a word, the rest of the time they replace the 't' with a glottal stop- this is achieved by tightening the muscles in the throat, around the glottis. Although you won't find this in pronunciation books, it is becoming more and more prevalent, as it requires less effort to miss out this sound.

If you are someone who doesn't usually pronounce the consonant sound 't' at the end of a word and want to start doing so; be careful not to over pronounce it (remember the rules, above). You will find further tips in the following videos, uploaded to Facebook and Instagram recently:

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