Transcribe your podcast

This is an all English podcast episode, 1543, why the tea in American English pronunciation is a chameleon.


Welcome to the All Ears English podcast downloaded more than 200 million times. Are you feeling stuck with your English? We'll show you how to become fearless and fluent by focusing on connection, not perfection, with your American hosts. Aubrey Carter, the Isles Whiz, and Lindsay McMahon, the English adventurer coming to you from Arizona and Colorado U. S a and to get Real-Time transcripts right on your phone and create your personalized vocabulary list, try our iOS app. Start your seven day free trial at all ears English dot com forward slash bonuses.


The T in American English is one of the trickiest sounds to learn because it shows up in so many different ways. Learn four of the ways to pronounce it and to understand it today.


Hey, Aubrey, how's it going today? I'm great, how are you, Lindsey? Awesome. Are we getting into a little pronunciation action today?


Yes, I'm excited about this. I know a lot of our students are constantly working on their pronunciation, figuring out different accents and why, you know, speakers say things certain ways. We get questions about this a lot.


So I think this is going to be a really fun series. Yes. We're going to start a new guys Aubrey was on in the last couple of weeks with a series on the Future Tense, different ways to avoid Will and say something more natural. So go and find those. And now we're starting our next series Together on Pronunciation. And it all starts with a question from our listener, Mitra Ross, is that right?


Yes, exactly. I'll read it. She said, Can I please have a session on different pronunciation of the letter T in the American native accent? Most of the time, T sounds like D and I was wondering if there is any regulation for that. Thanks in advance. This is such a great question because she's right. A lot of times the letter T actually sounds like D in the like us.


Yeah. And guys today we're just talking about the American accent. That's what we teach because that's what we know. But we have had guests on to talk about other accents. You want to come back to our blog to find those other episodes. And actually we have a couple later on. We'll tell you which episodes to go look for about this. Right.


Because we've had some guests on who are specialists with pronunciation.


So we're going to let you know which ones to go and check out. But first, we want to let you guys know.


I think this is so vital that you understand that your accent is beautiful, whatever it is.


I think so many second language learners get down on their accent and are really trying to maybe mimic an American or British accent.


I love accents like whatever yours is. I love it. It's so endearing. And I know Americans, they love accents. That being said, we get it. Why?


You know, pronunciation can cause barriers to language. It can cause miscommunication, right? Yes.


Yes. I love that. That's a good point, Aubrey. I mean, accents are beautiful and they make life from the perspective of a native speaker. As long as we can understand you, it's not great to obsess over trying to sound native or trying to sound American, right. Or British or Australian. There's a part of you that is your accent. You'll always have it. And it's kind of cool for natives to hear it. More personality.


In a sense. It's we like variety. Yes. I love talking to people who have accents.


We love variety, just like you said. So though your pronunciation might not be perfect, it doesn't have to be perfect in order to speak fluently, in order to connect with other people. Yes.


And but as you know, there are some really tricky things about English pronunciation that can make it more difficult for natives to understand you or for any other speaker of English to understand you.


And so that's what we're going to focus on on this series are tips that can simplify, make that easy, so that there are things with your pronunciation that you can work on to be more clear and to make it easier to connect with others.


Yeah, so it's really about being understood, right? Obree It's not that much about sounding native, right. I mean, that's the point. We just don't what we want to avoid that moment. That feels kind of embarrassing when people ask us to repeat because they don't understand over and over. Well, what about the Eilts exam, Aubrey? Because you're an expert over on I'll it's over on her. I'll do energy podcast, which guys you should subscribe to if you're taking Eilts this year.




Get rid of energy. Jessica and I are over there three podcasts every week. And that's a really good question because pronunciation is vital for your Eilts speaking score. It's one of the scoring stress scoring sections for speaking. And so you do.


The examiner needs to be able to understand what you're saying. You need to be able to speak clearly and your intonation needs to be native. So you need to sound happy if you're talking about something happy or sound sad if you're speaking about something very sad. So there's a lot that goes into pronunciation, but when it comes to specific phonemes or sounds, they do need to be accurate as well. So that you're understood by the examiner and can get that seven or higher you need for pronunciation.


We talk about pronunciation a lot on Eilts energy, so definitely subscribe if you haven't guys.


Osam guys, go over there, find Illes Energy podcast from all your English and hit subscribe. Cool. Very cool. Very cool. So what are those episodes that we've where we've interviewed experts and pronunciation before.


Yeah, you guys definitely want to check these out. Eilers English fourteen forty seven Hodda Shamash lindsy. You interviewed her about five steps to very clear English pronunciation. That's such a great episode. Definitely check that one out if you guys haven't.


Definitely she had a really nice framework there guys and I think that episode is also on YouTube. So check it out on YouTube if you want to consume over there.


What else Aubrey. We had Esther Brull, who's from Australia, right?


Yes. And she gave us three pronunciation don'ts, which are also important, what you want to avoid doing with your pronunciation.


So that's episode twelve seventy three. Check out that one. Yes, I'm a specialist in pronunciation. Right. And the nine oh three. What was that one all about. Yes, so this is Alex, who he's a tutor on ice hockey, and he talked about the number one shortcut to solving your biggest pronunciation problem. So go check that one out so you can find out what are these biggest problems. And that was a really good one, two or three very cool guys.


Go check it out. Remember, if you're using the app, right, which we should have the Android version soon, you can actually search in the search bar for these episodes. Such a good way to find episodes, too. So let's get into our tips. And Aubrey, let's talk about this tea issue sounding like a D all the time. What is this all about?


Yeah, OK, so first of all, we're going to give you four tips, guys. And the first one is that sometimes true tea does sound like tea, and that's when it's a stop consonant. Well, it's a stop consonant, but when with certain words, it sounds like a tea. And this is when the air flowing through your mouth is stopped by your tongue or your lips.


It causes this buildup of air. And when it's released, it makes a sound. So here are some words where you'll hear it sound like an actual tea.


OK, like it got hot, right? Mm hmm. Toi top or late. Yeah, exactly.


You can hear that Trute sound is what that's called. Yeah.


Sometimes it gets a little different of course when we combine these with the next word. Right. So for example, it got later. It got later. I don't always say it, I don't end with it with that tea because I blend it with the next word. I go on there when they're isolated or when the tea comes at the beginning, it's very clearly that stop.


Right, exactly.


That's where you have to pay attention. When we're blending two words together, that's when sometimes that changes. So here, tip number two will help.


You know, when so when ti comes between two vowel sounds, whether that's like a tea at the end of a word and the next word starts with a vowel or within one word, then we pronounce T as D.


So for example, dotter computer, you can see the vowel on either side of the T makes it sound like D.


Yes, I remember teaching this in my classes in New York and this is a real key shortcut, right. To learning how to pronounce this correctly, because I feel like the T sound is kind of it's like a chameleon, like it can disguise itself in so many different ways in the English language, especially in American English. It's tricky, guys, but this is one of the key ones.


So daughter computer water, right? We don't say wanter. Of course, in England. They do really probably is different in British English.


And we say water.


Exactly. Water or heater. Exactly.


And that same rule applies for a double T when there's two Ts, if they come between two vowel sounds, we still pronounce that as D like letter settle bottle.


Hmm. Interesting. I personally feel like other accents are more beautiful when they say the T like letter, but it's just I feel like our accent is just kind of I don't know because it's so familiar.


Right. Yeah. The speaker just feels so average Buttershaw.


But the inference is sometimes you'll speak to someone from another country and they love the American accent. So I try not to get down on it. It's just different. It's what we're used to.


So it feels very common to us. Just different. Yeah. OK, so so again, just to review guys that ti when it's a double T between two vowel sounds, right. Obree.


Yeah exactly. So this really that's the rule you need to know as far as when it sounds like D right.


OK, and also our third tip OK is sometimes that also sounds like chest C H right.


Yeah. This is a little tricky too.


So that's, it's like the T and the Y sound to get the T and Yeah. To and yeah.


So for example the words but you we say Bachu.


Yeah. We never say but we never say. But you, we don't separate them but you but you need to go do this. Right. But you. Exactly.


Yeah. And the word question. Right. You have that teacher in the middle of the word. You would never say question.


Yeah that would be the question. Yes. And another one is future. We never say Futter. Right. That just isn't right, guys. So future what's happening in the future. Exactly.


So this happens every time you have to followed by. Yeah. You're going to turn that sound blends together and it sounds like, well, the more I think about it have a ti really is a tricky one.


It's just all all across the board. It's all over the place.


It is guys yourself with all these different sounds.


Oh my gosh. Yeah.


If you are planning to move abroad and you want to take ild any time in the next year, then go unsubscribe right now to the ILD Energy podcast, because over there you get to learn with a former examiner and our team who has been trained under the examiner scoring system, learn with them how to get your seven or higher to pass the first time. Go and subscribe to the Wild Energy podcast.


So let's do one more. This is really good tip our number four is that when T is not followed by a vowel, when it's followed by a consonant, it's often pronounced by closing your throat suddenly instead of using the tip of your tongue.


So, for example, Cat, we don't say cat. Right, right. Just sort of stop our throat and we don't use that Trute.


So cat or like department, you don't really hear the T at all, but there's a stop in the throat.


And what does that sound like for you when you say that. Department, department, department. So the word is that I even hide the T even more. I would say department cat.


So it's almost like we never come, as you said, to the point where we're touching the tip of the tongue, it's department. And this is kind of what I was saying earlier. It ends in a different way. But I do notice that some people have their own, even within American English, like Americans, they have preferences for pronouncing that end or not pronouncing it. I noticed that some people are a lot harder on that t at the end, just personal preference.


It reminds me the word often where the T there's like a silent T in the middle of often, but a lot of natives you'll hear say often.


Yes. It's not like one is wrong necessarily.


It's just people have their own personal dialect, the way they say things. And often you'll hear where I grew up. People will say mountain.


They don't pronounce the T at all like mountain. Yeah. Yeah, you just never know.


So sometimes the T is different, depending geographically on where you are for sure.


And guys, if you want to hear more about that often often we did cover that in a whole episode. Episode 1010 come back to my dog and find that one, because we definitely actually I think we had a listener write in and say, well, I don't I don't understand, like, how am I supposed to pronounce it? So we do go into that quite a bit over there, guys. Yes, yeah.


OK, let's do a role play where we're just going to have a few sentences in there and go back and talk about which ones you see in the different sentence. You know, all the different uses of this ti.


OK, this is a phone call we're having like a customer service phone call.


OK, I wanted to do a phone conversation because when you guys are working on your pronunciation, I've talked to so many students who this is why I want to be clear on the phone, because people it's so much harder to understand when you can't see someone's face.


Oh, my gosh. You want to be more clear. Yes, I love it. So good.


OK, so this would be a phone conversation. So I'm calling you or. No, you're calling me. You're calling. I'm calling you. Hello. Fast billing department.


Hi. I need to pay for I need to pay medical bill.


OK, I'll just have to ask a couple of questions. First, can you give me your account number.


It's my daughter's account. Seven nine four five six. Her name is Priscilla. What a cute name. I love that. Thank you. All right, awesome.


So let's talk about some of the rules that we talked about right in the first one.


You see that fourth use twice.


So with fast method, we're not saying fast method. We don't know our throat. Fastnet, it's. Yeah, you're blending it all together.


There's no time for it.


That's why I think a lot of our listeners might panic on the phone, guys, you know, because it does come so fast.


So we need to find a way to slow these things down. I would recommend getting the transcripts for today, print them out, sit down and look at them very clearly so that you're ready when you are on the phone and these come so fast. Are you OK?


Yes, exactly right. And then I said department again where you would not say department. No, you said there's no time comes out fast. You don't hear that t yeah.


And then I said hi, I need to pay a medical bill. So what did I do here with my two. Yeah. So that's the true ti where it's going to be.


I need to pay a medical bill. But we did notice that when you say it fast you kind of say, Neeta, I need to pay a medical bill.


And so you're right that often even words where it is a true ti with a two in the middle because we're blending things together.


You don't it becomes wonna Neeta Gatta and I could have slowed down. So this is kind of optional that native speakers choose to do it or not. I could have said hi, I need to pay a medical bill. Right. And that's not non-native. Right. That's just a way of being more clear. But because I was speaking fast and naturally, I said I need to pay a medical bill. OK, exactly.


So neither are wrong. Neither makes you sound less native. It's just if you're slowing down, especially if you're on the phone to make sure you're understood, that wouldn't be unnatural to say. I need to pay a medical bill slow.


For sure. For sure. OK, now we've got a big one here. We got a lot of variations of the TI. What did you say next, Aubrey? So I said, I'll just have to end right there. We've got the same with just have whether it's the same thing where you're dropping the tea at the end, I'll just have to. It's kind of in your throat, right. Tip number four.


OK, and then to ask, I'll just have to ask a couple of questions first. But when you say fast, I'll just have to ask a couple of questions first.


We still hear the true tea there, because with the way have is ending, I have to tell just to ask.


Yeah, so that, too, does kind of balance out the sentence, doesn't it? It's right in the middle. It's kind of an anchor in what you emphasize. Yeah, good point. Right.


And then questions, which is our number three there where it becomes a in the middle of the word.


Haskett, ask a couple of questions. And then you said first at the end and how we pronounce that one, and this is always going to end with that Trute, right? I'll just have to ask a couple of questions first. Yeah.


And then you said, can you give me your account number? And that one would be the fourth where we do kind of bury the T..


Yeah, kind of.


Instead of using your tongue, it's pronounced by closing your throat suddenly and it's just account number. So you. Yeah. You don't use the tip of your tongue to make that T sound account number.


OK, account number. And then I said it's my daughter's account, it's my daughter and this is where the vowel is that right. It comes between the vowels. Exactly right.


OK, number two or the T is going to sound like a D become because it comes between two vowels. So my daughter.


Yeah, that one's that one's probably the easier one to remember guys. And then what do we have here.


The vowels again or something similar when you say what a cute name, what a cute name, because it comes between two vowels that t what sounds like a D what a cute name.


Yeah. What a cute name. I love that. Oh my gosh. So how can our listeners practice these opera. I mean, should they work on the chunks or what should they do to make sure these become natural. What do you think?


Yeah, I think you can, like you said, work on the Chungs, work on these tips individually. Look at the words that you see in a sentence and kind of diagram. Diagram the sentence so that you see, OK, where is this coming between a vowel? How is this going to sound? And then just pay more attention to it when you're listening, right?


If you're listening to a podcast, watching a movie, you're hearing natives say it and just be a little more cognizant of of when it sounds like a D when it sounds like a T, and now that you know the rules, you understand why you understand how to recreate that. I love that idea.


Kind of the idea of making a mental note. And I'm sure that science has proved that that actually does help us learn when we become aware of something and when we look for it. And then we make a mental note that we when we hear it, it's kind of like a three step process, right. So that when you're on that phone at work and you're putting in that order or whatever it is a purchase order, you're ready for it because you have noted it, you're expecting it and you're ready for it.


OK, and I know that's the same things happen to you where you hear a word that you didn't know before and all of a sudden you hear everywhere, everywhere, just because now you're aware of it.


You know what it means that I seriously hear this all the time before and just ignored it because I didn't know what it meant. It's true.


That even happens with like brands or just ideas or things. They come around or I come up in our world. I'm sure our listeners have experienced that. So you can actually make that happen for language. Two guys.


OK, so Guni. So good. All right. What's takeaway for our listeners today, Aubrey?


Yeah, guys, these tips can definitely help you pronounce the letter T like a native with an American accent.


The thing is, the use of the TI can vary from person to person like we were talking about by geographical reason. And that's one of the reasons that more difficult pronunciation struggles.


This is the thing like this is difficult for everyone. Don't feel alone if you're struggling with pronunciation. But with these tips, you'll know, you know, you understand how the letter tea works. There are rules that govern why we're saying it certain ways. And this will help improve your pronunciation.


Yes, I love it. Guys, this would probably be a good one to go back and listen to the episode again. And remember, if you're taking Eilts any time in the next year, I would say definitely go over and subscribe to the Eilts Energy podcast, hang out with Aubrey and Jessica and to understand how pronunciation could affect well, how could it could affect your score and really your life right now? Because I this is about life. It's about getting past where we are and getting to our dreams is exactly.


You want to get that score on your speaking exam so that you can get the score you need and immigrate to Canada with your family or go to grad school, whatever your goal is, your dream.


If you're preparing for Eilts, definitely make sure you subscribe to the Eilts Energy podcast.


Plus, we have a lot of fun over there. It's so fun. I really think that it's so fun so far. It's so fun to listen to lots of energy, enthusiasm. It's kind of a different way to look at Eilts that we have over there.


And I really think that once this pandemic is over, you know, once we know the world is ready to start moving again, a lot of people are going to be looking to take the isle. So, guys, you want to get a jump start on that, make sure you get in there, get started ahead of time so that you are ready when things are done with this worldwide. Dabic right.


Obra and if you're stuck at home and you have more time on your hands right now, that's the time.


Sign up for an online course, get in there so that you can be making this time productive, like you said, so that you're ready when things are opening and people are ready to take the exam.


You want to be prepared, get ready to act and live your dreams. I love it. So good. All right, Aubrey, this has been great. Let's wrap it up for today. I'll talk to you soon. Yeah. See you later. OK, bye bye.


Thanks for listening to all ears English. Would you like to know your English level? Take our two minute quiz. Go to all ears, English dot com forward slash fluency score. And if you believe in connection, not perfection, then hit. Subscribe now to make sure you don't miss anything. See you next.