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The word "two" in a tutorial sounds like /tjuː/ at multiple positions.

Is it common to pronounce two /tjuː/?

Another tutorial uses the same pronunciation.

I want you to listen to English through this lens that I'm giving you, right?

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  • I don't hear a /j/, but I hear the vowel as somewhat fronted, as I have noticed in some Americans' speech before.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 22:58
  • no..................................... Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 5:18
  • Just curious, do you mean /tju:/ ("t-yoo") or /tʲu:/ (palatalized)?
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 10:36

2 Answers 2

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Yes, I see what you mean. I think what you're hearing is the aspiration of the "t". For example, in "two stews" [u: stu:z] the first "t" is aspirated and the second isn't. In your first linked example, it seems to me that the sound was recorded by the microphone in a way that emphasized sibilant and aspiration type sounds, more than you might hear by listening to someone in person. If you were to pronounce "two" unaspirated as [tu:] instead of [tʰu:], it would likely sound too much like "do".

When I say that it is aspiration, I mean that it is interpreted by myself and I assume most native English speakers to be this. It's possible that I hear a palatalized [tʲ] as an allophone of the aspirated "t". Note that you can't use an affricated "ch" [t͡ʃ] here in my dialect, as <ch> is a separate sound in English.

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I don't hear a clear /j/ sound here.

There may be some kind of intervocalic noise made as the mouth is opened from the stop-consonant /t/ to the vowel /u/ but this is not the same as the clear /j/ you hear in words like tulip /tju:lip/

This may be because the speakers are speaking slowly. In the first example, she is speaking particularly slowly for the lesson. In the second the speaker slows (as if to hesitate or think) as she says "I want you to.. listen..... to.. English...through this lens"

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