Home > Oral English, Pronunciation > I live in Oddawa (Ottawa)!

I live in Oddawa (Ottawa)!

Recently in class, we looked at a common way of pronouncing words like “Ottawa”, “water” and “potato” in North American English.  Canadians and Americans normally pronounce the above words as follows:

Oddawa (Ottawa)

wader (water)

potado (potato)

Nevertheless, it still OK to pronounce these words with a /t/ sound rather than a /d/ sound.  However, a /t/ sound is normally pronounced as a /d/ by North American English speakers if there is a stressed (loud) vowel in a word before a /t/ sound which is followed by another vowel.  For example, in the word “tomato”, the second /t/ is preceded by a stressed vowel and followed by another vowel.  So, normally, it would be pronounced as “tomado”.  Can you think of any other words with this pronunciation pattern?

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  1. LD
    May 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Mike, I came up with a list. Correct me please if I have wrong words on the list. Thanks
    better, computer, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, bottle, bottom, excieted, frustrated, melted, limited, agitated, anxiety, loyaty, “It is …”, frustrating, interesting…

    • May 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      Hi,

      Please see below for my answer to your question about the following list of words:

      better, computer, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, bottle, bottom, excieted, frustrated, melted, limited, agitated, anxiety, loyaty, “It is …”, frustrating, interesting…

      The above words are pronounced with a [d] sound except for: “twenty”, “fifty”, “sixty” and “melted”. There are four phonetic environments in North American English for pronouncing /t/ like a [d]”

      a) stressed vowel + t+ unstressed vowel (e.g. – “tomato”) b) unstressed vowel + t + unstressed vowel (e.g. – “university”) c) stressed vowel + r + t + unstressed vowel (e.g. – “party”) d) stressed vowel + t + l (e.g. – bottle)

      I hope that helps.

      Cheers, Mike

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