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  • In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to take a look at the question

  • is the Flap T really a D sound?

  • It's not unusual for people to ask my why I say the flap T is a D sound. They will

  • say it's not the same as a D sound in, for example, day. My answer to them: you're

  • right. But, the Flap T, or T between vowels, is the same as a D between vowels. So

  • basically what I'm saying, is that a D between vowels is not the same sound as the D in other

  • cases, though they both use the same IPA symbol. Let's take a look at an example word: dad.

  • For that beginning D, there is a stop: dd, dd. D is a stop consonant, so I let air

  • build up a little bit in my throat -- dd, dd, dd -- and then release itIt's the

  • same with a D at the end of the word, though a little more subtleDd, dd, Dad-d-d-d,

  • but you can still hear, dad-d-d, there is a stop. Well, let's take a slightly different

  • word, Daddy. Now we have a D sound between two vowels. Daddy, Daddy. I'm going to stretch

  • out the vowel sound before and after to make that D more noticeable. Daaaaaadyyyy.

  • Did you hear a stop? There wasn't one. Daaaaaadyyyy. Between vowels, or after an

  • R and before a vowel, it's a different sound, because there isn't a stop. If I pronounced

  • both D's with a stop it would sound like this: dad-dy. But it doesn't. It sounds like

  • daddy, uhh, no stop in the airflow. This is true of the Flap T as well.

  • As I said before, if you look up the word 'daddy' in a dictionary, both of the D sounds,

  • though different, will have the same symbol.

  • This is why I have chosen to say the that Flap T is just like the D sound --- it is

  • like one kind of D sound, the D between vowels. So, matter = madder. Pronounced the same

  • way. When we pronounce a T or D this way, it smooths out speech. It takes out a stop,

  • which is why you'll hear so many Americans flap their T's. We love to smooth out the

  • line.

  • So, this was a long explanation about why I use the [d] symbol for a Flap T. The most

  • important thing to take from this video, though, is that both T and D between vowels, or after

  • an R and before a vowel, don't have a stop component. They do not interrupt the flow

  • of the line, they smooth out the speech.

  • One last comment. Sometimes, regarding the Flap T, I'll get a comment from a student:

  • that sounds like an R sound to me. It is an R sound? Well, depending on your native

  • language, yes, it is. The al-VEE-uh-ler flap is in many languages, usually represented

  • by the letter R. For example, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, to name

  • a few. So you may ask, why don't I use that IPA symbol? Two reasons: you won't see

  • that symbol in dictionary of American English. And, I'm not fluent enough in any of those

  • languages, to say: yes, definitely, I know it is absolutely the exact same movement of

  • the tongue, touching exactly the same spot at the roof of the mouth. So whether it is

  • exactly the same sound or just very close, it may be very useful for you to think of

  • the Flap T or D between vowels as the R sound from your native language. But, just keep

  • in mind that it is not at all related to the R sound in American English. RRRR, where

  • you can hold out that sound, and the front part of the tongue must not touch the roof

  • of the mouth.

  • That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to take a look at the question

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