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I was once reading the phrase next year, and I was told I should've pronounced next year as /nɛks jɪə/, that is, without the /t/.

Does this work with other phrases? Like count them?

  • People 'slur' words all the time.. Example: "That was so incredible" ... ends up being pronounced as "That waso incredible". Rarely you'll hear someone pronounce the "s" twice – Othya Aug 10 '16 at 16:09
  • Many native speakers wouldn't even bother trying to articulate /t/ after /ɛks/ (it's a bit of a mouthful, and if you "overarticulate" it you'll just sound weird). This isn't the same context as count them, where Cockneys and some other UK speakers will habitually replace /t/ with a glottal stop (and some Americans will replace it with /d/). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 10 '16 at 16:09
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    I do not drop the /t/ sound in "next" when I say the phrase "next year". That may be common in some regions, I am surprised that anyone would suggest that doing so is any kind of general rule. – PellMel Aug 10 '16 at 16:11
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    @PellMel Please read the comment properly before criticising. You will find that I was asserting exactly the opposite, that the /t/ should not be dropped. – Rhidian Aug 10 '16 at 16:41
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In many languages, when joining two words together results in three consonants in a row, it is normal to insert a schwa /ə/ between the two words. This approach is not routinely used by native english speakers, and doing so makes the speaker sound Italian: "I don't-ə-know".

For native english speakers, the /t/ at the end of next is usually pronounced normally when it is followed by a word beginning with a vowel.

When it is followed by a word beginning with a consonant, it is often omitted in unstressed syllables or replaced by a gluttal stop (a short silence) in stressed syllables. Attempts to enunciate the final /t/ usually result in the insertion of a schwa /ə/, albeit a small one.

A comment on a similar question referred to the phrase Don't ask, Don't tell: most English speakers will clearly enunciate the first t, and will substitute a gluttal stop for the second t.

Does y count as a consonant? Yes it does, sort of, but it's not as difficult as some consonants, so it's possible to pronounce the final /t/ without sounding too Italian.

In short: there is no rule saying that you have to pronounce or to omit the final t, but omitting it is a more authentic way of dealing with a three-consonant run than inserting a schwa.

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I am a native speaker of a very general General American and I would never omit the /t/ in "next year". I don't insert a schwa either. Many people say /nɛks jɪər/ and I would certainly understand it. However, you should be aware that it's not standard and may sound too casual. Don't worry if you can't pronounce it that way, though; most English speakers wouldn't notice (it's a very minor detail).

"Don't ask, don't tell" has two glottal stops (in "don't") and one strong aspirated t (in "tell"). Omitting some of those also sounds colloquial to me.

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