What’s Up With The American T? {American Accent}

Jan 17, 2023

American speakers do a lot of strange things when pronouncing the letter “t”, and in this lesson, you’ll learn all the rules.  I also give you specific examples and instruction so you can start adding these pronunciations to your own speech if your goal is the General American Accent. 

By the time you finish this lesson, you'll know more about pronouncing /T/ than most Americans!

In this lesson you will:

  • Learn the rules of pronouncing the letter “t” with a General American Accent
  • Practice each rule in common words and phrases that you can use in your daily conversations.

Download the All About T Cheat Sheet: https://www.theaccentchannel.com/allaboutt

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A Quick Summary of the Rules

  1. T at the Beginning of a Word: Pronounced as /T/ with a pop or a puff of air that we call aspiration 
    • Examples: time, tell, take
  2. T or RT Between Vowels: Pronounced as a light /D/ 
    • Examples: water, started, it is  EXCEPTION: T at the Beginning of the Strongest Syllable
  3. T at the Beginning of the Strongest Syllable: Pronounced as /T/ 
    • Examples: martini, Italian, petite
  4. T or RT Before a Consonant: Stops before it pops 
    • Examples: it was, network, absolutely, not that part
  5. NT Between Vowels in Single Word: Pronounced as /T/ 
    • Examples: center, internet, winter
  6. T is part of word ending /-tuhn/: Stop “t”, shorten vowel, sustain /N/ 
    • Examples: button, curtain, kitten
  7. T Is Part of Consonant Cluster:  Pronounced as /T/ 
    • Examples: first, wept, fact
  8. T Is Silent or Not Pronounced
    • Examples:  Christmas, listen, buffet

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