Jul 22, 2015
Have you figured out yet that American English is a language full of unusual sounds and spelling? Well, in this English tip, Gabby talks about the Flapped “T”, also known as the Flap T. Simply put, this occurs in American English when a “T” falls in a word between two vowels.
A flapped “T” sounds like a “d” in American English. This is why the words “Metal” and “Medal” in English sound the same. You would distinguish the exact word and meaning by the context in which it is used. Gabby uses “pretty”, “city”, “better”, and “thought of” as good examples of the American flapped “T.”
If you are serious about learning to speak and understand American English, then this tip is for you. By using the Flapped “T” sound you will demonstrate an understanding of American English that escapes some people. For more tips like this one, visit gonaturalenglish.com and start learning to speak American English the natural way.
Episode transcript below:
How are you doing today?
Welcome to a Go Natural English episode where we’re going to talk about a question from a Go Natural English audience member, Abdelkrim.
Abdelkrim asked, “Can you talk a little bit about the flapped “T”?
Well, this is an excellent question.
Abdelkrim, it sounds like you’re studying linguistics.
Maybe you’re really interested in pronunciation in the English language and this is a really important point for understanding American English.
So, if you want to talk to Americans, or if you want to sound more like an American English speaker, then this answer is really important.
Now, Abdelkrim asked for a lot of examples and exercises, and I’m going to do my best but remember these English tip videos are really short.
I try to keep them between two and five minutes.
The shorter, the sweeter.
But if you want more examples, more practice, and more support, then you should join the Go Natural English premium course at gonaturalenglish.com.
Now, here are some examples:
We have words that I mentioned before in another video such as “water,”
Another example would be “pretty.”
“Isn’t it a pretty city”?
Now that’s another example – “city.”
So, we have the flapped “T” when you have a “T” between two vowels.
So, “Pretty – P-R-E-T-T-Y.”
“Y” would be considered a vowel in this case, makes the “T” sound like a “D” – this is what we call the flapped “T” in linguistics or pronunciation.
So, what it means is that the “T” in American English sounds like a “D.”
Now, in British English, it’s a bit different but as you know, I’m an American English teacher so I can help you out with this flapped “T” sound.
So, it’s “pretty.”
Now, you may want to say “pretty” and that’s OK.
It’s not incorrect but that’s more of a British accent.
So, if you want to understand and sound more like an American, you should say, “pretty” and you should expect people to say “pretty” and know that that word is spelled with a “T” even though it sounds like a “D.”
Same thing for “city.”
You might be tempted to say “city” and that’s OK but what sounds more natural in American English is “city.”
It’s not “city.”
So, a “D” sound is softer than a “T” sound.
The flapped “T” is soft like a “D.”
So, I’m currently in Tokyo and I would say that Tokyo is a pretty city.
Oh, but I have an even better example – ooh “better” – B-E-T-T-E-R.
Not “better”” but “better.”
A better example – I just thought of a better example which is actually “thought of.”
Now this will blow your mind because when we say words, we have to consider the linking between two words.
We don’t just say individual words like “pretty” – “city.”