I don't understand what's the standard pronunciation of words ending in t followed by you, including "don't you", "want you" etc. Even when hearing the same person talking for some time, their pronunciation seems to vary between:

  • don't you (t pronounced /t/)
  • don'you (silent t)
  • don'tch you (t becomes /tʃ/)

Why does each variation occur and which one would be the correct pronunciation?

  • I am unsure about the first and third, but second one is very unusual. Never heard it without a 't'. – Dhanishtha Ghosh Nov 27 '20 at 14:40
  • @DhanishthaGhosh - The second variant, where the /t/ turns into a silent glottal stop or is dropped altogether, is incredibly common in the northeastern United States. It's certainly the way I say this phrase as a native speaker. – Canadian Yankee Nov 27 '20 at 14:54
  • In most such contexts, the standard "eye dialect" representation is dontcha But whether the final vowel/diphthong is reduced to a schwa or not depends as much on the context as on the particular speaker. – FumbleFingers Nov 27 '20 at 15:27
  • You might want to read this article by Quick & Dirty Tips – Void Nov 27 '20 at 17:32
  • The second is very common in singing pop songs. Sing “don’t you, forget about me” and hear how oddly it scans if you sound the “t”. – jwpfox Nov 28 '20 at 0:52

First and foremost, there's no 'correct' or 'incorrect' pronunciation. Pronunciation of a particular word varies from speaker to speaker or accent to accent.

All the pronunciations you've given are correct and native speakers will understand what you mean.

  • first case: the t is pronounced a clear t, [t]: no assimilation, glottalisation or t-deletion (t-dropping). (It's somewhat highfalutin.)
  • second case: most people tend to drop certain consonants like t and d when they're flanked by other consonants. So in dontyou, the t is flanked by n and y, so some people might drop the t altogether. Most people, however, glottalise the t and pronounce it something like [ˈdəʊnʔju].
  • third case: most people tend to assimilate the t of don't with the following glide /j/ and pronounce it with [t͡ʃ] (which is considered informal).

Once again, all of them are correct pronunciations.

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