I've got to know that the 'T' sound in American English has various pronunciation rules.

For example, flap T. And also one of the rule is when T sound followed by an 'n' sound or 'ən' sound, the 'T' SOUND WILL NOT ASPIRATE and people will directly pronounce the 'n' or 'ən' sound through nose, like 'imporTant', 'senTence'.

But, for the second 'd' sound in word 'indepenDent', should the second d sound be pronounced or not in American English in the actual conversation?

I know that all the voice or voiceless consonants are not aspirated while they are followed by other consonants. But I'm not sure whether it's OK for this word as d is followed by 'ən' sound. OR it can be both ways, cause I have heard one native speaker pronounced the 'D' sound. I want to know which one is most common way to pronounce this word or this type of words?

  • I don't really understand the question, but does this help? Voiceless stops ([p], [t], and [k]) are aspirated ([ph], [th], and [kh]) when they occur immediately before (no sound in between) a stressed vowel, and there is no [s] in front of the voiceless stop. So, they are not aspirated after [s], if they occur before an unstressed vowel, or if there is a liquid or glide between the stop and the vowel (and then the liquid/glide is considered voiceless = [r]) Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 14:57
  • 3
    The pronunciation of independent with and without the second /d/ are both common, and they both should be considered correct. Which one is the most common? You could go and listen to 10,000 Americans selected at random from various regions to the country and count how many used each pronunciation. Or you could just choose whichever pronunciation you prefer and use it. I think the second alternative is much easier. Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 15:47
  • "Independent" at Merriam-Webster merriam-webster.com/dictionary/independent click on red speaker icon after word and the computer will play an audio clip of the pronunciation.
    – MaxW
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


I have never heard anyone pronounce this word as "indepennant", if that is what you are asking.

A pronouncing dictionary will make that clear. For example, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/independent?s=t shows

[in-di-pen-duh nt]

I'm not saying this to suggest you shouldn't have asked. I'm giving you this suggestion so you can approach English pronunciation with more confidence.

  • 1
    I've certainly heard 'independent' pronounced as indepennant.
    – Void
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 17:12

In most American accents, when a stressed syllable ends in an /n/ and the next unstressed syllable starts with a /t/, the /t/ is usually dropped. So 'COUNter' becomes counner, ˈTWEN.ty' becomes twenni, ˈWAN.ted' becomes wannid etc. I think the same happens to a /d/ in that position. The third syllable in 'in.de.PEN.dent' is stressed and it ends in an /n/, the next unstressed syllable starts with a /d/, so the /d/ is often dropped. Here's an example on YouTube: Why Nothing Will Be Normal*

If you want to drop the /d/, you can; it's optional in casual speech.

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