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  • Have you learned how to pronounce D?

  • Ddd--

  • Tongue in position, vibrate the vocal cords...

  • Well, there are actually six different ways that Americans might pronounce that sound.

  • And today, we're inviting superstar Rachel's English teacher, Tom Kelly,

  • to teach you these six different ways.

  • When you understand them, you'll figure out how you can speak more natural and easy English.

  • Tom teaches students in Rachel's English Academy, all day, every day,

  • and this is part of what he teaches them, so I'm so glad that he's here to do this for us today.

  • We're gonna hand it over to Tom in just a second but before we do,

  • make sure you subscribe with notifications if you haven't already.

  • We make new videos on the English language every Tuesday, and we'd love to see you back here again.

  • Okay, Tom, take it away!

  • Hi! I'm Tom Kelly, a Rachel's English teacher with Rachel's English Academy.

  • Today we're going to talk in depth about a sound in American English

  • that has a lot of different pronunciations. The D consonant.

  • Here are words and two word phrases that all use a different pronunciation of the D sound.

  • Dog

  • Mad

  • Ladder

  • Dad runs.

  • Did you?

  • Send me.

  • Whoa. One letter...six different pronunciations.

  • Yikes.

  • Luckily, there are some guidelines for when to use each one.

  • So let's get started.

  • Now, you may have heard about the Stop T and the Flap T and the True T.

  • Well, the only difference between the T and D consonant is that the D consonant is voiced

  • and the T is unvoiced.

  • So that means the D consonant has multiple pronunciations as well!

  • Let's start with the Classic - the True D.

  • As Rachel teaches in her video on the D consonant,

  • it is a Stop Consonant.

  • This means that there are two parts to creating a True D.

  • First, a stop of the airflow and second, a release.

  • The airflow is stopped by the tongue position.

  • The tongue will come up and the front part will touch the roof of the mouth just behind the top teeth.

  • It will then pull down to release the air.

  • Da.

  • Da.

  • Da.

  • The teeth can be together for the D consonant sound,

  • but they do not need to be.

  • For example here is the D sound with the teeth together:

  • Dog.

  • Day.

  • Diner.

  • You may actually find that you get an easier, more relaxed sound when your teeth are not together.

  • Dog.

  • Day.

  • Diner.

  • This allows you to keep a looser, more relaxed jaw,

  • which is great for finding that American English flow, and natural quality.

  • Now, this is a voiced consonant, so you will use your vocal cords for the D.

  • And that will be very important later on.

  • Now when do we use the True D?

  • Whenever a D consonant begins a word

  • or when it begins a stressed syllable in the middle of a multiple syllable word.

  • So, let's practice this. Here it is at the beginning: dog, diaper,

  • As the parent of an infant, I use this one a lot,

  • and the name Debra, like in the song by Beck.

  • Debra.

  • Debra.

  • Notice that my teeth are not together when I pronounce the D.

  • Dd-- dd-- Debra.

  • In fact, my jaw is loose and relaxed.

  • Now this relaxation helps create a more effortless sound

  • and it might help you find a more natural native speaker quality to your D consonant.

  • Now here is the True D in the middle of a word.

  • Produce.

  • Produce.

  • Serendipity.

  • Houdini.

  • Again, notice my teeth are not closing to help me create this sound, my jaw stays loose.

  • Houdini.

  • Houdini. Da, da.

  • Okay, so that's the classic True D consonant sound.

  • The sound we think of when we think of the letter D.

  • However, that is only the first of our six pronunciations.

  • So let's talk about number two. The Flap D.

  • Now that sounds similar to a flap T, right?

  • And that is because it is the exact same sound.

  • When a D is between two vowel sounds in an unstressed position,

  • meaning the following syllable is unstressed,

  • it will be pronounced very quickly, lightly, a very fast, weak version of the True D.

  • Now this should sound just like the Flap T

  • or if you come from a native language that uses a Flap R,

  • where the tip of the tongue bounces quickly off the roof of the mouth,

  • that is also the same sound.

  • So, M-A-D-D-E-R, madder, madder.

  • This word has a Flap D whereas,

  • M-A-T-T-E-R as in 'What's the matter?'

  • Matter, those words are pronounced exactly the same.

  • Madder with a D, madder, and matter with a T, matter.

  • As in: No one is madder than me that English spelling is so unhelpful.

  • Now, this sound is used within words like: madder, ladder, riddle, cradle, buddy, academy.

  • It's also used when linking a word that ends with a D into a word that starts with a vowel or a diphthong,

  • like: had a-- I had a great time!

  • Had a-- had a--

  • Good idea.

  • That's a good idea!

  • Good idea.

  • Notice the D in 'idea' is a True D, a little stronger and clearer

  • because it's at the beginning of a stressed syllable.

  • Idea.

  • That's a good idea.

  • That's a good idea.

  • Sad about--

  • I'm sad about English not being a phonetic language.

  • Sad about--

  • Okay, that brings us to the Stop D, or more accurately the unreleased D.

  • The unreleased D is similar to a Stop T.

  • Remember, that there are two parts to a stop consonant,

  • there's the stop of airflow, and there's the release.

  • For an unreleased D, or a Stop T, all you have is the stop of the airflow, you do not release the air.

  • So how can you tell whether you are using a Stop T or a Stop D?

  • And how will a listener be able to tell?

  • Earlier, I told you to remember that you use your vocal cords for the D consonant sound.

  • Here is where that becomes very important.

  • It's very common for non-native speakers to have issues with the unreleased D.

  • It very often sounds exactly like a Stop T for them, but it shouldn't.

  • For the Stop T you use a very brief stop of airflow and sound.

  • SAT, for instance, sat, sat, sat there--

  • This means that you can actually make the stop T without lifting the tongue up

  • behind the upper teeth. Sat, sat, sat there-- sat there--

  • You cannot do that for the unreleased D.

  • For the unreleased D, you want that same brief stop of airflow

  • but because it's a voiced consonant, your vocal cords will still be producing sound.

  • Sad, sad.

  • sad there--

  • sad there--

  • Do you hear that voiced quality for the unreleased D?

  • Sad. Dddd--

  • Here's the stop T and the unreleased D back-to-back:

  • Sat.

  • Sad.

  • Sat.

  • Sad.

  • Sat.

  • Sad.

  • Because you're continuing to use your vocal chords for the unreleased D,

  • the vowel sound will seem longer in the word SAD,

  • sad, than it does in SAT, sat.

  • Sad.

  • Sat.

  • I sat there waiting.

  • I sat there waiting.

  • I'm sad there won't be snow on Christmas.

  • I'm sad there won't be snow on Christmas.

  • Sat there--

  • sad there--

  • Sat there--

  • sad there--

  • So the thing to remember about the difference between the stop T and the unreleased D,

  • is that the stop T is a complete stop of airflow and sound.

  • But the unreleased D is only a stop of airflow.

  • Your vocal cords continue vibrating and making sound.

  • When do we use the unreleased D?

  • You can use this D when the D comes at the end of a phrase:

  • I'm really mad.

  • I'm really glad.

  • Mad.

  • Glad.

  • You can also use it when the D is followed by a consonant sound,

  • and you want to link the words together.

  • Good night.

  • Good, good night.

  • Made money.

  • Made money.

  • Fried food.

  • There's two in a row. Fried food.

  • Fried food.

  • Now, you may be wondering what about when the D consonant comes at the end of a word,

  • but it's in a cluster, like friend or send, or held?

  • When it comes after the dark L, as in held, or called,

  • you can use this unreleased D there as well.

  • Held the baby.

  • Held.

  • Held the baby.

  • Hold my bag.

  • Hold.

  • Hold my bag.

  • Called the restaurant.

  • Called.

  • Called the-- called the restaurant.

  • However, when you have this D after the N consonant,

  • it's more common to use another form of D.

  • The dropped D, our fourth pronunciation.

  • We just don't say it. We drop it.

  • So if I say: This is my friend, Mike.

  • You noticed that I dropped the D sound.

  • Frien. Mike-- Friend. Friend.

  • This is my friend, Mike.

  • This is very common when words that end in an ND cluster link into a following consonant sound.

  • Even when a word that ends in ND is plural, you can usually drop the D.

  • Hands, minds, ponds, winds, sounds.

  • All of those, dropped D.

  • Now you'll also hear this with words that end in ED

  • when the consonant sound before the ED ending is voiced.

  • Let's take a look at some examples.

  • Named, named me--

  • In casual speech, you will hear native speakers drop the D here and say.

  • Name me-- name me--

  • The context helps the listener know that it is named.

  • Here's a clip of someone doing this.

  • And I said it means 'splendid'. You named me splendid? Why did you change that?

  • Named me--

  • splendid?

  • And I said it means 'splendid'. You named me splendid? Why did you change that?

  • Another example: lived, lived there--

  • Again, native speakers will drop the D here.

  • Live there, live there.

  • Even in formal situations like this:

  • So when you lived in Carpinteria, you've lived there all this time--

  • lived there--

  • all this time--

  • So when you lived in Carpinteria, you've lived there all this time--

  • Dropping the D won't happen all the time in these situations.

  • You will hear native speakers release the D sound very quickly, and lightly in these situations as well.

  • Named me-- named me-- me, me.

  • Lived there-- there, there. Lived there--

  • But the Drop D is so common, we do have to talk about it.

  • Now, number five, that quick light release of the D consonant, that I just mentioned, named me-- me, me,

  • is another pronunciation. I call this the mini release.

  • This happens when the D consonant is linking into a consonant sound,

  • and is not unreleased, but is released incredibly quickly and lightly.

  • Often because it would actually be more difficult to pronounce as an unreleased D.

  • This is most common when the D sound links into words that start with the R, Y, or W sounds.

  • Some examples: dad runs-- dad runs-- dad runs-- runs--

  • Very quick release.

  • It would actually be more difficult to hold the D sound here.

  • Dad runs-- dad runs--

  • That's difficult. It's much easier to very quickly and lightly release it.

  • Dad runs-- runs-- dad runs--

  • But hear how quick and quiet that D sound is.

  • It is even lighter than a Flap D.

  • Dad runs-- dad runs--

  • madder-- madder--

  • dad runs--

  • Here are some other examples:

  • Bad weather--

  • Bad weather--

  • Good year--

  • Good year--

  • Tried yoga--