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As you know in American English if the "d" or "t" is between two vowels in a word or if it is at the end of a word after a vowel and before a word that starts with a vowel, it is pronounced as a flap sound.(Like in "better", "utter" "I cried on his shoulders" etc.) But also in some cases "d" can be pronounced as a flap sound if it is the fist letter of a word too when it's between two vowels. So, I wonder if I can pronounce the first "d" of "didn't" as a flap sound when it comes after a vowel like in "Why didn't she come with us?", "She didn't like me" etc. I know that the second "d" of "didn't" should be pronounced as flap sound but can I also pronounce the first "d" as a flap sound since it's between two vowels and it is not the main verb, or do I have to make the strong "d" sound like in "Days are passing by"? I feel like it sounds smoother and more natural if I make a flap sound at the first "d" of "didn't" too in the sentences like the ones I gave as examples.

I forgot that you can make a flap sound when "d" or "t" is between "r" and a vowel too so can I make that "flap d" sound in the sentences like "My father didn't come", "Harry Potter didn't kill Hagrid" etc. too? It doesn't sound bad to me after a vowel, but after the "r" it sounds weird to me.

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  • The first syllable of didn't is probably stressed in Why didn't she come with us? so you shouldn't use a flap for the first /d/. Nov 26 '17 at 16:53
  • @Peter Shor Thanks. So shouldn't I pronounce the first "d" of "didn't" as a flap sound in any case? Or don't Americans ever pronounce that first "d" of "didn't" as a flap sound after a vowel? Nov 26 '17 at 17:10
  • We never flap /d/ or /t/ before a stressed syllable. You can pronounce the first /d/ as a flap if the word didn't isn't stressed. We usually stress didn't, but if you're saying something like "I didn't do it," where you put stress on I instead, you can flap the /d/ in didn't. And very often, we flap the first syllable of did, which usually isn't stressed. Nov 26 '17 at 17:48
  • @PeterShor Thanks again. But if the word that starts with a "d" is a content word, we can't make a flap sound at that first "d" right? For example in the sentence "I am going to do it another day" Since both do and day are content words, I shouldn't make a flap sound at these words despite the fact that they are unstressed, right? Nov 27 '17 at 17:29
  • Also in American accent if a person doesn't pronounce the "d" at the beginning of a word as a flap sound despite the fact that it can be pronounced that way, does it sound unnatural? Do Americans always make that flap sound when the "d" at the beginning of a word can be pronounced as flap sound like in "Why did he come with you?" Nov 27 '17 at 17:36
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No, the first "d" of "didn't" is a regular "d" sound, apico-alveolar.

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I'm not very good at hearing the difference between a voiced alveolar flaps/taps and a voiced alveolar stop, but I think I can use a tap/flap in sentences like "I didn't go to the store today". (I would expect this to be true because I feel like the /d/ at the start of "didn't" can almost be elided entirely in this position.) I feel the same way about "didn't" in "She didn't like me".

I'm less sure about the "didn't" in "Why didn't she come with us?", because I feel like depending on how I say the sentence, there might be more stress on it than in the other sentences (as Peter Shor said in a comment).

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