When enjoying this beautiful song, I can't help but ask a question just like why the TH sound of that seems silent when used after the S sound. In my brain, the sound formed itself "recklessat" just as if there was no TH sound. I'm not sure how this combination pronounces and wonder whether my ears have got any problems or it's just about Taylor Swift who enjoys performing this melody in this particular way.

This is about a excerpt from a lyrics of Sparks Fly by Taylor Swift.

The way you move is like a full on rainstorm And I'm a house of cards You're the kinda reckless that should send me running But I kinda know that I won't get far And you stood there in front of me just Close enough to touch Close enough to hope you couldn't See what I was thinking of

1 Answer 1


This is normal, not peculiar to Ms. Swift. In speech th- is often assimilated to an immediately preceding continuant, not only with that but at the onset of any unstressed function word such as the, this, they, them.

  • When speaking fast, can I speak recklessat directly?
    – Kris
    Jun 17, 2017 at 12:52
  • 2
    @繹SIMA夏目 Many native speakers do. This does not mean, however, that you should emulate their speech--for instance, in an effort to sound more like a native. There are far more important matters to be concerned with, such as the tonal and rhythmic contour of your speech. Jun 17, 2017 at 12:57
  • I'm certainly no AAVE speaker, so I probably wouldn't say Dat's what I'm talking about! very often. But if the preceding consonant is a /d/, as in I think it's kinda stupid that we're in this position, I'd quite naturally enunciate that = dat in casual speech (where if the that- clause weren't present, the /d/ of stupid would normally be reduced to just a kinda glottal stop). Jun 17, 2017 at 13:29
  • @FumbleFingers In US speech the /ð/ is more likely to be completely assimilated after a continuant consonant, which I think is what OP is talking about: You still have 'ose books I gave you, or d'jou lose 'em? Jun 17, 2017 at 18:57
  • Yes, I think "unstressed function word" is the key category here, not /sð/ (or any permutation of voiced/voiceless alternatives). For example, in the word "calisthenics", I find it hard to delete /θ/ without conscious effort, whereas the /ð/ in a sufficiently rapidly pronounced "Y'ever see that movie?" is barely articulated if at all, at least here in Toronto. That said, assimilation obviously is a factor in many similar deletions, even if it's aided by syntactic properties. Jun 17, 2017 at 19:51

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