1

I am trying to learn how American say sent. For example:

I sent you two dollars

or

The king has sent me ...

Update Please also do you remove the t in Not? Is there any role when you remove the t and when not?

Thanks

  • @Roombatron5000 Thanks, I updated the question ,could you check again please – Marco Dinatsoli Mar 20 '15 at 19:24
  • 1
    No... in general, we do not... There may be some accents that do but it's not the standard. And "the king is sent me... " is not a grammatical statement. – Catija Mar 20 '15 at 19:26
  • 1
    Although, occasionally, the "t" at the end of "sent" and then "y" at the beginning of "you" will be squished together and it will be pronounced "I senchoo two dollars." Depending on how formally and how quickly you are talking. – DJMcMayhem Mar 20 '15 at 19:43
  • 1
    Also, I can't think of any time that I would remove the "t" in "not", but I can think of times I would pronounce it with a "d" sound. For example "Not a chance" could be pronounced "nodda chance." Again, this is more likely when I am speaking quickly and less formally. – DJMcMayhem Mar 20 '15 at 20:16
  • I think I can hear myself skipping the "t" in "sent" when it is followed by "it." You didn't get my letter? Weird - I sennit last week. Casual, rapid Pacific Northwest American English. – Adam Mar 20 '15 at 21:41
5

The "t" sound in "sent" is not dropped, but it's also not aspirated. In words like "to" or "table", the "t" sound is aspirated. Here's what happens in my mouth when I say "to":

  1. My tongue pushes on the back of my teeth. No air is flowing.
  2. I make a puff of air while I pull back my tongue. This is the aspiration.
  3. My mouth moves into the shape of the "oo" (long U) sound.

Here's what happens at the end of "sent":

  1. I'm making the "n" sound.
  2. My tongue pushes on the back of my teeth while I suddenly stop the flow of air.
  3. Instead of making a puff of air, I just stop. That's the end of the word. The ending is sharper than "sen" would be.

If "you" is the next word, a few things can happen:

  • My tongue moves to the roof of my mouth for the "y" sound before I let any air flow. This sounds like two words -- "sent yoo", with an unaspirated "t".
  • I let out a puff of air while I move my tongue to the roof of my mouth for the "y" sound. This sounds a bit like one word -- "sen tyoo" or "sentyoo", with an aspirated "t".
  • I let out a puff of air while moving my mouth directly into the "oo" (long U) sound. This makes a "ch" sound. The result sounds more like one word -- "senchoo".

If you keep your mouth relaxed, the "oo" sound in "you" becomes an "uh" (schwa) sound. This pronunciation is sometimes spelled "ya", which can combine with "sent" to give "sent ya" or "sentcha". "Don't" is also used this way, as in "dontcha". These spellings are rarely used except to emphasize that the speech is casual.

The "t" in "sent" can be aspirated when you emphasize the word. Some people might completely drop the "t", but I can't think of any regional accents that do so.

EDIT: "Not" works the same way. You'll hear this whenever there's a "t" sound followed by another consonant.

  • 2
    +1 Note that your "suddenly stop the flow of air" is accomplished at the top of the throat, often before the /t/ is completely closed at the teeth - what phoneticians call a "coarticulated glottal stop". – StoneyB Mar 20 '15 at 23:12
  • Glottal stop reference. Big +1 – JMB Mar 21 '15 at 1:04
2

In my West Coast AmE, enunciation of consonants tends to follow formality. (But in places like the Southeastern US, dropping consonants can be part of culturally important regional speech patterns.)

If, in casual speech, my sister says something that confuses me, I might say:

"Hunh? ...I dunno what y'er talking (a)bout."

(Note this is never the way I would write it; and if you asked me to repeat what I had said, the consonants would quickly reappear. But when I say it out loud, this is how it sounds.)

If I am formally accused of something serious (like adultery or embezzling) and I want to formally deny any knowledge of the matter, I might say:

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Note that this emphasizes the hard consonants, but contractions are still used. To say:

" I do not know what you are talking about."

would be formal to the point of being stilted and borderline rude (or else it could just plain rude).

If I am informally accused of something very mundane (like drinking the last of the orange juice and then placing the empty bottle back in the fridge), and I want to tacitly admit guilt while indicating that I really don't care, I might say:

"Dunno whachyer talkin bout."

The fact that I can't even be bothered to enunciate more than a bare minimum of consonants emphasizes my apathy and lack of remorse.

Dropping consonants can also be part of a very informal sort of friendly verbal shorthand. I had a college friend who would sometimes call me on the phone and say:

"Mungry. Djeety't?"

Which translates into standard AmE as:

"I am hungry. Did you eat yet?"

(With the implication that, if you haven't, we might join each other for a meal.)

0

In standard American English, the "t" at the end of a word is not dropped, although it is less aspirated than a "t" at the beginning of a word.

There are regional dialects that use a glottal stop in place of "t"s that come in the middle or at the end of words.

For example: "Wha' in tarnation were ya thinking?"

or, "There's a bu'n (button) a' (at) the top of the mou'n (mountain)."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.