“And what we found was that there were about five points difference.”
“You know the different neurodevelopmental tests have different scales.”
(extract) (original source)

I’m wondering which is /ts/ and which is /t/ when /t/ sound comes at the end of a word. It seems like they both touch the root of the mouth and then release, and the sounds are very similar to me. I guess the /s/ may have the key to differentiate the two, but it is drowned by the /t/ to leave no /s/ trace for me. What is the difference between the two?

Do you really differentiate following audio as 'fleet' or can it only be understood depending on context? (extract) (original source)

  • 1
    The ts in points and the ce in difference are pronounced similarly. Not the same, but it's similar. Since you have the same speaker saying difference and different close together here, does it help you to first try and hear the difference between those two sounds? You might be able to focus more on the final sound when the rest of the word is pronounced the same.
    – WendiKidd
    Oct 5, 2013 at 0:57
  • 1
    It sounds like fleets to me, not fleet.
    – user230
    Oct 5, 2013 at 1:08
  • 1
    @Listenever: He is clearly saying "fleets" in the audio. If it's supposed to be "fleet", it's a slip of the tongue. Oct 5, 2013 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


In fleet, the tongue does touch the roof of the mouth and release, creating the /t/ sound, and then relaxes, allowing the air exhaled during speech to pass uninhibited. On the other hand, when pronouncing /ts/, after pronouncing the /t/ the tongue remains close to the roof of the mouth with the tip of the tongue close to the front teeth as the air that is exhaled during speech is somewhat restricted, creating the /s/ sound that will help you distinguish between /t/ and /ts/.

Try pronouncing them to your self both ways to see if you can hear the difference. If this is successful, begin attempting to hear it in native speakers. If you have access to one, ask him or her to speak the different sounds, emphasizing the /t/ and /ts/ sounds.

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