How do I make the flap/tap t sound as in words like: better, matter, stutter, moto, but I'm, bottom and so?

  • 1
    Most Americans will pronounce those as bedder and ledder, with a de-emphasis and reduction of the phoneme altogether.
    – Robusto
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 0:37
  • i know but can you explain to me EXACTLY how to produce that sound because whenever I try to do it it just sounds like a strong D as in Doctor
    – Dannie
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 1:26
  • 1
    Well, when I say that phoneme, my tongue never quite reaches the alveolar ridge (the fleshy ridge behind the upper teeth), and the target is somewhat behind (farther to the top of the mouth) where that of a hard /d/ would be. That's what I meant when I said it's de-emphasized and reduced. It's very quick as well. I suggest you listen to recordings of native speakers making that sound and try to emulate what you hear.
    – Robusto
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 1:31
  • 2
    @P.E.Dant That is exactly not the sound the OP is trying to make. The OP wants to do the 't' sound in the middle of a word like Americans do it. That video is for British English where the 't' is almost always aspirated. Americans do not have a puff of air after the 'tt' in 'better' or 'twitter'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 2:57
  • 2
    It's obvious the OP wants the American English pronunciation. Standard British English doesn't use a flap t (alveolar flap or tap). Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


Being neither a speech therapist nor a physician, allow me to make a simple suggestion without the use of jargon (technical terms) for speaking American English:

  1. Start to pronounce each of your sample words as if you intended to make the hard D or T sound
  2. When your tongue is on the roof of your mouth, rather than forcing the tongue down (with your breath), relax the tongue so that a gap is formed
  3. Continue with the next syllable (-er, -o)

Please let me know how this works for you! Although using the softer D/T will sound more native, you will likely find it beneficial to be able to replace the soft D/T with the harder D/T for better clarity when singing or speaking to a large group.

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