Standard T Sounds

The reduced T sounds are fundamental to the standard American accent. Because of the reduced T sounds and the large vowel sounds, American English sounds more flat and flowing than British English. In this lesson, none of the T sound changes are casual or optional. These are simply part of regular American English.

Regular TUse a regular T sound when T is the first letter as in table, test and tell. Use a regular T sound when T is next to a consonant as in st, ct and pt. Examples are stop, last, act, select, accept and apt
TU = CHIn most words with a TU spelling in the middle (not at the beginning), the T becomes a CH sound, as in the word adventure. Also, DU follows this rule. The D becomes the slightly softer J sound, as in education.
TI = SHSimilar to TU, TI often sounds like SH when it is in the middle or near the end of a word. You can see this rule in the ending –tion, which sounds like shun. You can also see this rule in other words with TI, such as initiate.
T = D

This is the most important T sound rule. When T comes between two vowel sounds and it is not stressed, the T becomes a D sound. This happens in many words such as water, strategy and data. This rule also works in phrases with T as the last letter, yet between vowel sounds, as in what ifput off, or at all. There are a few exceptions, like proteinprotest, and politics, but generally, this rule works very well. 
T = D with
L and R
There are two additions to the T = D rule. The –le ending is an old spelling that actually sounds like ul. So the T = D rule works in words like settle and bottle. Also, we use a D sound in words like quartershorter, and reported. Technically, a middle or final R is a half vowel in American English.
*Exception*Americans do not reduce the T if it is on the stress in multi-syllable words. Examples are: opportunity, attire, attempt, Italian, strategic, and politician.

Now return to the T Sound Main Page using the link below. Start practicing with the T Sound Words. 
Understand the American T sounds as you practice repeating after the instructor. 

750 Business WordsT Sounds Main page
* is a part of I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, which holds the copyright to all materials. Subscribers may print images and pages for individual use, but not for commercial use or distribution. *

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