After the flap T, and glottal stop let’s see what can happen with the T (or D) sound between two consonant sounds. Try to pronounce the word “exactly”. Its “official” pronunciation is /ɪgˈzæktli/. It means that the T sound should be pronounced but it’s not so easy, especially in quick everyday speech. So what happens in real everyday conversations, or even in formal situations? I have an easy job now. What I will do is only refer to one of Rachel’s recent videos.
Who is Rachel? Read my former blog post. Rachel is one of my favorite pronunciation teachers.
So click on this link and watch this video:
Here is the transcript from Rachel’s website.
“In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to go over the pronunciation of T and D between two consonants. When the T and D sounds come between two other consonant sounds, many Americans will drop them. You can do it too. It might make words easier to pronounce and link, and smooth out your speech. Let's look at several examples. First, exactly. I get requests for this word quite a bit. When we have the word 'exact', we will make a True T because it's part of an ending consonant cluster. Exact, tt, tt. But when we add the -ly ending, it now comes between two consonants. You'll hear a lot of native speakers say 'exactly', with no T sound. Exactly, exactly. Almost no one will say 'exactly', with a True T. Exactly.
This happens a lot when we link words. Take, for example, the phrase 'grand piano'. The word 'grand', on its own or at the end of a sentence, grand, will usually have a light D release. Grand, dd, dd. But when it's not the last word and the next word begins with a consonant, most people will drop that D. So, "grand piano" becomes "gran' piano". Grand piano, no D. Grand piano. Grand theft auto. Just one more. Probably not 'just one more'. Now, the word 'one' begins with a vowel letter, but the first sound is the W consonant. Just one more. Just once. Just for you. Must be funny. Must be. Probably not 'must be'. Must be funny. Must be nice. Stand for. What does it stand for? Stand for. Probably not 'stand for'. Stand for.
I often get questions relating to these situations. Dropping the T and D in these cases can help smooth out your speech, so try it out. If you can think of other examples, put them in the comments below and use other people's examples to practice.
I have one additional part about the tricky 'T' sound. I would like to mention two other situations when T sound may be dropped out in pronunciation. And I should write down and finish the interview with Kate, who was very kind to review this blog post again.