I have a simple question. I'm just asking about the direction of motion of the tongue (or the tip of the tongue).

I know that the tongue moves from the R (initial position). Then, it quickly hits the alveolar tap or edge. Then, it rests for the E sound (final position).

I'd like to know if the tongue moves from inside of the mouth or an inner position to an outer position or from out to in.

1 Answer 1


With some speakers the articulation there can sound closer to [d] than to [t].

Pardy on, dude. Pardy on.

It depends where on the roof of the mouth the tongue makes contact. The farther back, the more the sounds shades towards [d].

The vowel in the first syllable, colored by [r], can be rather farther back in the throat than the counterpart in BrE, which is a more open vowel; that [r] can result in the cheeks tensing and the chin being pulled back as well, so that for some speakers of AmE there's quite a distance for the tongue to travel, indeed for the entire lower jaw to travel, to produce [t] and less distance for it to travel to produce [d].

An AmE speaker who retracts the lower jaw to produce [par] is almost guaranteed to articulate the consonant as [d].

But the direction of movement of the tongue to make the d/t is never front-to-back.

  • 1
    As a speaker of AmE, I would really like to know what is amiss with my description. There is no single way that Americans say "party" and the sounds can be a [d] or a [t]. Anonymous downvotes without explanations are really tiresome.
    – TimR
    Jan 23, 2019 at 15:10
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    Upvote from me, because I absolutely agree. I've heard native U.S. guys pronouncing "party", and it was far from [t]. Sometimes I even hardly heard a [d], so the sound seemed to get lost somewhere between r and y. But I would like to add that pronunciation generally depends on the native region of the speaker - in any country.
    – mic
    Jan 23, 2019 at 15:23
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    It was most likely downvoted because most of the answer is wrong. "The farther back, the more the sounds shades towards [d]." is nonsense. You've put symbols in square brackets, indicating a close phonetic transcription, but all of your phonetic symbols indicate the wrong sounds – I doubt you really trill your r's! Yes, the /t/ is normally voiced, but it's neither [t] nor [d]. It's the voiced alveolar flap [ɾ], which is voiced like [d] and sounds quite similar but is of course not the same sound. Besides that, "with some speakers" is enough of an understatement to be incorrect. And so on.
    – user230
    Jan 23, 2019 at 17:50
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    @snailboat: I am not using square brackets to indicate "close phonetic transcription" at all, simply to indicate a sound versus a letter.
    – TimR
    Jan 23, 2019 at 18:27
  • @snailboat: When the lower jaw is retracted to produce /ar/ (as some speakers of AmE do) it is much easier to produce a /d/ sound than a voiceless /t/ Perhaps some speakers of Indian English will produce a voiceless /t/ by pressing the tip of their tongues way back against the roof of the mouth (many BrE speakers do, those who thrust the lower jaw forward for /ar/), but no American does. Americans produce the voiceless /t/ against the ridge immediately behind the front teeth.
    – TimR
    Jan 23, 2019 at 18:40

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