Could you help me to figure out one thing?

My task is to comment on the modifications of consonants by the neighbouring sounds(assimilation,ellision). But there are some words in the task where I don't see any modifications of consonants:

bright [braɪt]
great [ɡreɪt]
duty [ˈdjuːtɪ]
beauty [ˈbjuːtɪ]

I want to know, is it just me,or the task is incorrect?


2 Answers 2

  1. You'll most probably get some labialisation of the word initial [b] and the [g] in the first two words because of /r/. Some also possibly in the word initial consonants in the last two under the influence of /u:/.

  2. There's likely to be coalescent assimilation of /d/ and /j/ in duty, which will result in /dʒ/ ---> /dʒu:ti/

  3. The /t/'s at the end of the first two words are likely to have an inaudible release if followed by silence.

  4. In Gen Am, or even in SSBE in rapid speech the /t/'s in the last two examples may be realised as voiced alveolar taps due to being intervocalic.

There's possibly more. It kind of depends how much detail you'd like to go into.


In this particular set of words it looks like the point is that the "t" in the words is pronounced differently when it occurs at the end of the word. This is especially true of AmE. In AmE, when the t occurs at the end of the word, the tongue stops the flow of air in the same place (a bit behind the teeth) as usual, but then doesn't open back up again for the next vowel. The word ends with the tongue still closing off the air flow.

Furthermore, again in AmE in particular, a t at the beginning of a word or at the beginning of an accented syllable is fully unvoiced, whereas a t between two vowel sounds and at the beginning of an unaccented syllable (as in duty and beauty) is usually somewhat voiced, making the sound similar to a d.

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