The six stop consonants are t, d, p, b, k, and g. When these meet in between two words.


I wonder can I omit the "d,b,g" sound when it is followed by these consonant " t, d, p, b, k, and g".

for example:Dad kicks my ass. Can I say it like "dæ'kiks my ass" with "d" sounds omitted .

further more. Can I omit "d,b,g" sound when it is followed by other consonant. for example:Dad loves my mom.

Can I say it like "dæ'lʌvs" with "d" sound omitted.

  • 1
    You should use "kicks" and "loves" as the subjects are third party singular in the present tense. Did you read it and understand what the stop consonants are all about? – user24743 Jun 6 '16 at 8:26
  • No, you cannot. "A big dog" is not pronounced "a big'og", nor is "a bad god" pronounced "a bad'od". Your question is answered in the original article, in this paragraph: "The six stop consonants are t, d, p, b, k, and g. When these meet in between two words, like ‘hot today’, you have to stop the air to signify the first consonant, then release the sound into the next word. So, it’s not ‘hahtoday’, but ‘hot today’, with a stop. So to make that stop, I’m just holding the air in my throat, for a fraction of a second. Another example, ‘bad dog’. It’s not ‘baadog’, but bad dog, with a stop." – stangdon Jun 6 '16 at 16:20
  • thank you for you answer.I mean if I can omit "d,b,g" sound when it is followed by these consonants.for example. is it ok to say "a big dog" as "a bi'dog " or "a bad god" as "a ba'god" – Tim Jun 6 '16 at 16:39
  • @stangdon: The question is only asking about omitting consonants before other consonants, not after them. "A bad god" can actually exhibit retrogressive assimilation of place from the "g" to the "d," resulting in a pronunciation like "a bag god." But in general, the only stops that can be assimilated like this are /d/ and /t/, and as you mention, they are not dropped entirely. – sumelic Jun 6 '16 at 17:04
  • Ah, you're right, I misread it slightly. Still, my answer holds in that in general, no, you can't drop these and expect to sound fluent. – stangdon Jun 6 '16 at 18:15

No, you cannot omit these sounds in general. English does simplify these kind of clusters sometimes, but only specific ways are acceptable. The simplifications are generally "assimilations." I found some description of this in this downloadable document by Rachael-Anne Knight: "Understanding English Variation."

Basically, /d/ may assimilate in place to a following stop. So it might turn to /b/ before /b/ or /p/, or turn to /g/ before /g/ or /k/. The /d/ is pronounced more like /b/ or /g/, but it is not dropped entirely: there are still two consonants in the middle of the phrase, and two consonants have a longer duration than a single consonant. (Note: an assimilated /d/ may actually still be distinguishable in some way from original /g/ or /b/. See this paper for more details: "Word recognition and phonology: The case of English coronal place assimilation," by David W. Gow Jr. and Bob McMurray).

Example: "bad god" might be pronounced like [bæggɒd].

The sound /t/, which is the voiceless equivalent to /d/, may also assimilate in place. It may turn to /p/ before /b/ or /p/, or to /k/ before /g/ or /k/.

The other stops /p, b, k, g/ do not generally assimilate in place across word boundaries.

Almost any consonant in English may be devoiced due to assimilation. For stops, the way this works is that a voiced stop like /p b g/ is pronounced with less voicing (but without aspiration) when it comes before or after any voiceless consonant (including /t d g/, but also including fricatives such as /f s ʃ/). This devoicing also often occurs at the end of a phrase. Even though a devoiced /d/ sounds basically like [t], the convention is to write is using a devoicing circle diacritic as [d̥] because it is usually distinguished from the English phoneme /t/ in other ways. For example, vowels are longer in syllables that end in voiced consonants than they are in syllables that end in voiceless consonants: we can write this in transcriptions with the partial length diacritic /ˑ/. Also, English voiceless consonant phonemes like /t/ are actually pronounced as aspirated consonants like [tʰ] at the start of stressed syllables (and possibly some unstressed syllables); devoiced voiced consonant phonemes are never aspirated like this.


  • "hat god" might be pronounced [hækg̊ɒˑd̥] or [hækg̊ɑˑd̥]. There is regressive place assimilation of /t/, making it be pronounced more like the following velar consonant, so we can transcribe it as /k/ here. There is progressive devoicing of /g/, making it be pronounced like an unaspirated [k] sound, which is still distinct from the aspirated [kʰ] that would be used for the phoneme /k/ in this position.
  • "mad king" might be pronounced [mæˑg̊kʰɪŋ]. There is regressive place assimilation of /d/, making it be pronounced more like the following velar consonant. There is also regressive devoicing of /d/, so we use the devoicing circle diacritic. Overall, the /d/ here is likely to be pronounced like an unvoiced [k] sound. But the length on the preceding vowel will clearly distinguish it from the phoneme /k/, which would make the preceding vowel short.
  • "big dog" would be pronounced as [bɪˑgdɒˑg̊] or [bɪˑgdɔˑg̊] or [bɪˑgdɑˑg̊] . We do not transcribe place assimilation because /g/ is not as prone to assimilation as /d/ is. We do not transcribe devoicing because both consonants are voiced.

So to return to your examples:

Dad kicks my ass.

The final "d" in "Dad" cannot be dropped here. Regressive place assimilation is possible, however. With assimilation, the first two words "Dad kicks" would be transcribed [dæˑg̊kʰɪks].

Dad loves my mom.

The sounds "d" and "l" are similar. They already have the same general place of articulation and are both voiced. The "d" cannot be dropped. I am not sure if some accents might assimilate the /d/ to /l/, but in any case, this is not a mandatory assimilation. I would recommend just pronouncing the first two words as [dæˑdlʌˑvz].

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