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I pronounce "attached to" like "attach to" when the two words are linked and spoken a little fast ([əˈtætʃ.tə]). Is this OK? Or do I have to say [əˈtætʃt.tə]?

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    Most native speakers pronounce it attach to in colloquial speech. You might also hear it being pronounced with a geminated/long [t].
    – Void
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:17
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    @Void Could you explain more about the geminated/long [t]? How do you pronounce 't' in a long way?
    – DH K
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:21
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    @DHK: Gemination simply means 'lengthening'. Try saying better late than never and better late than ever; whats the difference? The 'n' of 'than never' is a bit longer than that of 'than ever'. You could say the n is geminated/lengthened.... Gemination of stops/plosives (consonants like p, t, k) is different from that of other consonants in that the first stop/plosive is unreleased
    – Void
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:44
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    @Lambie: What technical stuff are you talking about? If you're referring to 'geminated', then I have written /long with it which means that both have more or less the same meaning. I don't think it is rude or overbearing at all. How else could I explain that? Is there a simpler word than LONG?
    – Void
    Mar 14, 2021 at 17:50
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    Ok, now you have explained it but why not post an answer? In any event, I am not convinced that in colloquial speech, the [t] is necessarily unrealized in "attached to". It really depends on the speaker and the circumstances.
    – Lambie
    Mar 14, 2021 at 18:22

1 Answer 1

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As you probably know, the -ed in 'attached' is pronounced [t] because the sound preceding the -ed ('ch') is unvoiced, so 'attached' becomes [əˈtʰæt͡ʃt]1. However, when 'to' follows 'attached', we get three consonants in a row: [əˈtʰæt͡ʃt.tʰə] which can be hard-to-pronounce. The simple way to get round it is to drop the -ed ([t]):

  • [əˈtʰæt͡ʃt.tʰə] → [əˈtʰæt͡ʃ.tʰə]

In colloquial speech, most native speakers will simply drop the *-ed* (/t/) and will pronounce it the same as *attach to*. However, you will also hear the *-ed* being pronounced as an unreleased**2** 't'. Context will make it clear which form is used, so you shouldn't be worried about it.

NOTES:

  1. The superscript h [ʰ] represents aspiration. Aspiration is the puff of air that accompanies consonants such as p, t, k when they occur at the beginning of a stressed syllable.
  2. 'Unreleased' in this context simply means that the consonant (p, t, k usually) has no release burst
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  • Re the ch, you said: "because the preceding sound ('ch') is unvoiced" The preceding sound in walk is voiced, and the ed past morpheme, the ed is pronounced [t] , also. So.....
    – Lambie
    Mar 14, 2021 at 19:55
  • I did not downvote anything. However, I disagree with this: "the -ed in 'attached' is pronounced [t] because the sound preceding the -ed ('ch') is unvoiced," And I am SAYING, that the sound [k] preceding the ed in walk [k], is voiced. So, both cannot be true.
    – Lambie
    Mar 14, 2021 at 20:10
  • @Lambie: Is [k] really voiced?!
    – Void
    Mar 14, 2021 at 20:15
  • No, I guess it is voiceless unlike tag.
    – Lambie
    Mar 14, 2021 at 20:27

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