It is my understanding that:
- Voiceless stops are aspirated at the beginning of a word, and at the beginning of a stressed syllable.
- Voiceless stops are unaspirated at the beginning of an unstressed syllable.
- They’re also unaspirated in any other position, like at the end of a syllable or the end of a word.
- If a syllable is stressed, a voiceless stop is unaspirated if it follows [s].
Also, in this question: Are English consonant sounds [p], [t], [k] aspirated before another consonant?, the matter of aspiration before consonants has been in discussed at length. However, I found in this book for ESL students: Pronounce It Perfectly in English, ISBN-13: 978-0764177491.
- When a word ends in another consonant plus /p, k, t/, the /p, k, t/ sound must be aspirated, for example:
- /p/: lamp, harp, grasp, scalp, limp, sharp, wasp, help
- /k/: frank, ink, work, fork, ask, talk, walk, mosque
- /t/: act, lift, fault, apt, can't, text, last, borscht
Here's my question: is that a reliable rule? Are voiceless plosive sounds aspirated at the end of words when come after another consonant?
I'm asking about Standard American English in particular.