This is a video tutorial on aspiration (and the lack of aspiration) in various languages and accents of English.

3 replies
  1. Ivetta
    Ivetta says:

    Hi Geoff, your videos are excellent and very clear. I am still coming to terms with pronouncing a stressed “t” as the Russian “ц”. I do have to say that “back in the day” my teachers did get across the message that the English “t” was not dental. I also decided to check out what Nabokov sounded liked in English, and here is what I found, this right up the way of this video: he reads the first lines of “Lolita” which describe how the tongue moves pronouncing the name, and the “t” is dental, which makes sense given that protagonist is an immigrant in the U.S.A. from some European country. Thought you would like this literary passage on phonetics.

    • Geoff Lindsey
      Geoff Lindsey says:

      Hi Ivetta. Thanks for the link to the clip, which I’ve never seen. After listening to Nabokov, I think your ‘immigrant’ interpretation is probably right. But when I read the passage decades ago, I thought it might just be artistic license. Note that American linguistics had a tradition of referring to t and d in English ‘broadly’ as dental. Eg Bloomfield in his classic Language (1933) wrote about stops/plosives:

      English distinguishes three types as to position: labial (more exactly, bilabial)… dental (more exactly, alveolar, or better gingival)… and velar

      I’ve never heard anyone else call English t and d ‘gingival’!

  2. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    I’m non-native, and I’ve got a few questions. When the [t] is in a stressed syllable, is it aspirated and, at the same time, affricated? I’ve learnt long ago that the [s] sound cancels the aspiration of [t], in words like “stop”, “stone”, “station”, etc, and does the same to [p] and [k], but does it cancel the affrication as well? Is the [t] always affricated when unstressed? Is there any environment that cancels both the aspiration and affrication of [t]? Does the [d] have any sort of affrication as well, in words like audience and audio?
    I also noticed that there’s two ways of pronouncing words like “trap”, “drama”, “trick”, etc, you may pronounce as /ˈtɹap/ or /ˈtʃɹap/, and /ˈdɹɑːmə/ or /ˈdʒɹɑːmə/, is that right? Does it have anything to do with regional accents, or is it just a matter of one of the pronunciations being more formal and the other more relaxed?

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