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"Was spent" We don't pronounce it as a: /waz spent/
We do it as a: /was'spent/ (without any gap between was and spent?)
Did I understand it correctly?

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    There is a tiny "gap" separating the final phoneme of was from the first phoneme of spent. Note that no such gap exists in, for example, The wasp entered through the window. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 31 at 14:16
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    You cannot pronounce a consonant and its counterpart easily when they come right after each other. Either allow a tiny pause (as FF said) between was and spent* or skip /z/ of 'was'. – Decapitated Soul Mar 31 at 14:56
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    I find that when I say "was spent", the sequence of three consonants is pronounced with no interruption, with a gradual transition between the voiced 'z', the unvoiced 's', and the 'p'. – Jack O'Flaherty Mar 31 at 15:39
  • 👍 Same here. This is a situation where you should practise saying the two words separately and slowly decrease the pause/ gap between the words. – Decapitated Soul Mar 31 at 16:05
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    @DecapitatedSoul This one: You cannot pronounce a consonant and its counterpart easily when they come right after each other. Either allow a tiny pause (as FF said) between was and spent* or skip /z/ of 'was'. – WorldLover Apr 1 at 13:53
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"Was spent" We don't pronounce it as a: /waz spent/ We do it as a: /was'spent/ (without any gap between was and spent?) Did I understand it correctly?

'Was' ends with /z/ (voiced sound) and 'spent' starts with /s/ (voiceless sound). /s/ and /z/ are counterparts of each other i.e. /s/ is the voiceless counterpart of /z/ sound and /z/ is the voiced counterpart of /s/ sound. It means they are articulated from the same place (the alveolar ridge) and have the same manner of articulation (sibilants). The difference between /z/ and /s/ sound is the vibration of vocal folds.

If you feel behind your top teeth with your tongue, you should be able to feel a little shelf-like part right there behind your top teeth. That little shelf-like bit behind your teeth is your alveolar ridge.

As they are articulated from the same place and have the same manner of articulation, you cannot pronounce both of them easily when one comes right after another.

Pronounce bits, you will be able to pronounce the /ts/ easily because /t/ and /s/ have different manner of articulation.

Now pronounce was spent (pronounce 'z' and 's' respectively), you will not be able to pronounce /zs/ easily because /z/ and /s/ have the same manner of articulation.

There are two ways to pronounce them:

  1. Skip /z/ sound in 'was' and link 'wa' to /s/ sound of 'spent' -> wasspent

  2. Allow a small pause between 'was' and 'spent' -> /wɒz/ (tiny pause) /spent/.

(If you don't want to allow a small pause, then skip the preceding sound /z/, it's almost imperceptible)

(I myself pronounce both /z/ and /s/ sounds. It happens naturally. As I said in my comment, 'This is a situation where you should practise saying the two words separately and slowly decrease the pause/ gap between the words'.)

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