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Thread: pronunciation question - silent "t"

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    pronunciation question - silent "t"

    I decided to work on my pronunciation and got some podcasts and Cambridge's "Pronunciation in Use". And all I get for my efforts is confusion.

    Native speakers on that tapes pronounce "t" very clearly in some words like 'often', 'restaurant', etc. while I always thought it shouldn't be pronounced there.
    I was tempted to brush it off as a 'British thing' but
    a) these are training tapes and presumedly they are to demonstrate standart pronunciation,
    b) on a podcast both Englishman and American said 'often' (with 'T').

    I'm not going to change my habbits (yet ) and to say it the same way but WHAT'S GOING ON? I'm just curious. Is that an accent or it's common?

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    Why don't you just look it up in a dictionary? Any dictionary will show two possible pronunciations: ofTn and ofn.
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    Why don't you just look it up in a dictionary? Any dictionary will show two possible pronunciations: ofTn and ofn.
    I looked it up in three different dictionaries. All gave only one possible pronunciation - /ofn/ and /restron'/.

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    You shouldn't use Soviet dictionaries. Use British/American dictionaries like Oxford, Cambridge, Longman, Webster, etc. Or their online versions, like this one here, for instance: http://www.webster.com/dictionary/restaurant and http://www.webster.com/dictionary/often
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    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    You shouldn't use Soviet dictionaries. Use British/American dictionaries like Oxford, Cambridge, Longman, Webster, etc. Or their online versions, like this one here, for instance: http://www.webster.com/dictionary/restaurant and http://www.webster.com/dictionary/often
    I do believe it's a possible pronouncation since I've heard it, no need to prove it.
    I'm just interested is it common enough to put it on training tapes, is it more common in some areas, does that way of pronouncation tells smth about the person (in Russian when you here someone says 'четверьг' or 'маленькай' you can guess a probable age (definitely old ) and origin of the person).

    PS. BTW thanks for the link.

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    I decided to work on my pronunciation and got some podcasts and Cambridge's "Pronunciation in Use". And all I get for my efforts is confusion.

    Native speakers on that tapes pronounce "t" very clearly in some words like 'often', 'restaurant', etc. while I always thought it shouldn't be pronounced there.
    I was tempted to brush it off as a 'British thing' but
    a) these are training tapes and presumedly they are to demonstrate standart pronunciation,
    b) on a podcast both Englishman and American said 'often' (with 'T').

    I'm not going to change my habbits (yet ) and to say it the same way but WHAT'S GOING ON? I'm just curious. Is that an accent or it's common?

    Much depends on whether you want to sound like a wealthy British person... or an Australian sheep-herder... or an American/Canadian attorney.

    This is a regional difference in pronounciation... please remember that there are essentially 15+ pronounciation styles and dialects in English.

    "Often"... in the Midwest U.S. the "t" (after the "f") is not pronounced... if you pronounce it you will sound as a wealthy "dandy" from eastern America, Boston or British... you will sound much more natural (in America/Canada) if you pronounce it as "ofen". Please trust me on this. Don't pronounce the "t".

    "Restaurant"... I'm not sure which "t" you're referring to? I assume the second "t"... pronounce both "t" 's... otherwise it is possible that you will sound uneducated.

    There are Southern U.S. dialects that soften the last "t". This may be what you're hearing.

    If you're not from the South don't drop or try to soften that last "t"... it will not sound normal if you don't have a natural Southern accent.

    I wish I could produce "wave" files on this forum for examples, from my own speech.

    Use the Cambridge files, if you have no other option... but if you want to have British pronounciation, try to get BBC... if you want American/Canadian pronounciation, try to get CNN, Fox, or Voice of America.

    I'll dig up some American/Canadian .wav files for you, from good sources.

    P.S. "habbit" should be "habit"

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    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    You shouldn't use Soviet dictionaries. Use British/American dictionaries like Oxford, Cambridge, Longman, Webster, etc.
    Exactly.

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    "Restaurant"... I'm not sure which "t" you're referring to? I assume the second "t"... pronounce both "t" 's... otherwise it is possible that you will sound uneducated.
    She means that Soviet dictionaries (Muller etc) insist that is should be pronounced as rest-RONG, approximating the French pronunciation. That's how they taught us to pronounce it when I was a schoolkid. Many schoolbooks and and English dictionaries published in Russia are so out of date that it isn't even funny. I can't even remember when I opened my copy of Muller... or, in fact, if I still have it - I find it that useless.

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    [...]
    "Restaurant"... I'm not sure which "t" you're referring to? I assume the second "t"... pronounce both "t" 's... otherwise it is possible that you will sound uneducated.
    [...]
    P.S. "habbit" should be "habit"
    Thank you, Dobry.
    Both T's in 'restaurant'? Not one? I wonder now how many other usless things my school teacher taught me.
    And yeah, I often write "habit" as "habbit". Probably have something to do with "hobbits".
    Quote Originally Posted by translations.nm.ru
    I can't even remember when I opened my copy of Muller... or, in fact, if I still have it - I find it that useless.
    I haven't used mine for years too. Actually I don't think Muller is so bad, it's just too big, I prefer electronic ones (Lingvo).

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by translations.nm.ru
    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    "Restaurant"... I'm not sure which "t" you're referring to? I assume the second "t"... pronounce both "t" 's... otherwise it is possible that you will sound uneducated.
    She means that Soviet dictionaries (Muller etc) insist that is should be pronounced as rest-RONG, approximating the French pronunciation. That's how they taught us to pronounce it when I was a schoolkid. Many schoolbooks and and English dictionaries published in Russia are so out of date that it isn't even funny. I can't even remember when I opened my copy of Muller... or, in fact, if I still have it - I find it that useless.
    Wow... I didn't know!

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    I decided to work on my pronunciation and got some podcasts and Cambridge's "Pronunciation in Use". And all I get for my efforts is confusion.

    Native speakers on that tapes pronounce "t" very clearly in some words like 'often', 'restaurant', etc. while I always thought it shouldn't be pronounced there.
    I was tempted to brush it off as a 'British thing' but
    a) these are training tapes and presumedly they are to demonstrate standart pronunciation,
    b) on a podcast both Englishman and American said 'often' (with 'T').

    I'm not going to change my habbits (yet ) and to say it the same way but WHAT'S GOING ON? I'm just curious. Is that an accent or it's common?
    То, что сказал Добры хорошо, но я бы сказал, что не надо волноваться о том, как ты произносишь эти слова. Ныне английский язык отличается в такой большой степени, что никто не заметит, использовал ли ты один или другой вариант.

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by basurero
    , но я бы сказал, что не надо волноваться о том, как ты произносишь эти слова. Ныне английский язык отличается в такой большой степени, что никто не заметит, использовал ли ты один или другой вариант.
    Basurero, I disagree. One word, misunderstood... can destroy a business deal. Please, let us talk more about American business hiring... Consider it a game... you may prove this American wrong.

    I respect you very much... but in Western Business, words... each word... becomes very important. gRomoZeka's language will be judged by those people who are deciding to hire her, or work with her. Her English has a good chance of a job or contract.

    gRomoZeka... if you have a pro-translator to work for you, then great... otherwise I feel like you have a team of translators and linguists to help you translate and 'sell' your thoughts ideas, and words to Westerners.

    I'm here for you, as I'm to help Basurero and a few other people, if they want help. You have a team helping you.



    Please no worries... all manifestations will be consisdered legititamate and real...and kind,

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    There are many words I can think of where this kind of thing happens. Not just with Ts, but Ill name them to make a point.

    Some people say "wolf" (with the L) and some people say "woof." Some people say "clothes" (with a soft TH) and some people say "close" (ignoring it all together). There are different ways to pronounce some of those things, but I think they are right either way.

    I say "ofTen." Im not weird, and no one thinks I speak sub standard or unhirable english. In a lot of words that have two Ts in a row, a lot of people will say them in a way that completely ignores them. Instead of kit-ten, they say ki-en. It sounds more...I dont know, natural than to hear a forced "kit-ten" where both Ts are pronounced and prominent. Its just an interesting thing with pronounciation and what english speakers (in my region of america, atleast, I cant speak for other english regions or countries) are used to hearing. But thats an example (although different from your question) of different but legitmate pronounciations.

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    Re: pronunciation question - silent "t"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    I'm here for you, as I'm to help Basurero and a few other people, if they want help. You have a team helping you.
    Спасибо, Dobry, ты очень добр.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeo
    I say "ofTen." Im not weird, and no one thinks I speak sub standard or unhirable english. In a lot of words that have two Ts in a row, a lot of people will say them in a way that completely ignores them. Instead of kit-ten, they say ki-en. It sounds more...I dont know, natural than to hear a forced "kit-ten" where both Ts are pronounced and prominent. Its just an interesting thing with pronounciation and what english speakers (in my region of america, atleast, I cant speak for other english regions or countries) are used to hearing. But thats an example (although different from your question) of different but legitmate pronounciations.
    It's very interesting, Zeo. I think little things like that are important, but you hardly can learn them from books.

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    Don't be egerent - learn up sum new wods today
    An ongoing work please sends in your Southern/Redneck words to be encluded
    Dictionary@bubbaandclem.com

    Well, I don't know what to say. I want to say thanks to the Academy, to Mama, to Papa and to my dog. I love you all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlestonian
    Don't be egerent - learn up sum new wods today
    An ongoing work please sends in your Southern/Redneck words to be encluded
    Dictionary@bubbaandclem.com

    !!!

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    glottal stop.

    Varying by region and even by word, the sound /t/ may or not be present in words. In my speech (midwest US - Chicago suburban to be exact) it's like this. Between vowels /t/ is replaced by /d/. (See ya lader alligader!) It is often (I don't pronounce it in this word) replaced by a glottal stop in final position. Let's represent da gloddal stop using da symbol " .

    Wha"? I hear you say. Where ja come up with the info ta make that sta"men"? In a restauran"? Gimme the faks strai". No need to sofen 'em up for me. I'm oudda here. I need a drink a wadder.... Ware'd tha" Dasani go ....

    =:^0

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    glottal stop.

    Varying by region and even by word, the sound /t/ may or not be present in words. In my speech (midwest US - Chicago suburban to be exact) it's like this. Between vowels /t/ is replaced by /d/. (See ya lader alligader!) It is often (I don't pronounce it in this word) replaced by a glottal stop in final position. Let's represent da gloddal stop using da symbol " .

    Wha"? I hear you say. Where ja come up with the info ta make that sta"men"? In a restauran"? Gimme the faks strai". No need to sofen 'em up for me. I'm oudda here. I need a drink a wadder.... Ware'd tha" Dasani go ....

    =:^0
    Chaika, our Linguist is with us now.

    I'm still pulling for the soft t's from the South... but Chaika, this is your show. Teach us, please, we need your help.

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    I almost always hear the T pronounced in the word "often"...hell, I can't think of a word where one doesn't say the T. Although it could be because of where I'm from. It sounds very strange to me without the T. By the way, I am from western Illinois.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeo
    There are many words I can think of where this kind of thing happens. Not just with Ts, but Ill name them to make a point.

    Some people say "wolf" (with the L) and some people say "woof." Some people say "clothes" (with a soft TH) and some people say "close" (ignoring it all together). There are different ways to pronounce some of those things, but I think they are right either way.

    I say "ofTen." Im not weird, and no one thinks I speak sub standard or unhirable english. In a lot of words that have two Ts in a row, a lot of people will say them in a way that completely ignores them. Instead of kit-ten, they say ki-en. It sounds more...I dont know, natural than to hear a forced "kit-ten" where both Ts are pronounced and prominent. Its just an interesting thing with pronounciation and what english speakers (in my region of america, atleast, I cant speak for other english regions or countries) are used to hearing. But thats an example (although different from your question) of different but legitmate pronounciations.
    "OfTen" is not weird... but it can sound that you think you are better and more educated than the group you are with... especially in bars/pubs... there are many different pronounciations and dialects... and MUCH depends on your own dialect and pronounciation... if your pronounciation sounds natural, depending where you are. "OfTen" for example is certainly O.K, and it is correct English... but there are locations in the U.S... certain urban areas... where pronouncing the "t" would be considered "showy"... "ostentatious"... "Ivy League" ... i.e. you'd get a big whooping, possibly a fight. Charlestonian and others (I hope ) will back me up on this.

    If you strengthen your "t"'s, and adjust your speech in certain urban areas of the U.S.... you will be asking for a fight... or worse.

    Me? I would play safe and soften the "t".

    This is an important difference in my opinion, between British English, and Canadian/American English.

    Ultimate lesson... soften or strengthen your speech depending where you are. Be true to yourself and your language... but use "street smarts" and be careful... don't try to sound like a Yank, when you're in the U.S., Europe, or in New Orleans... and don't try to sound like a Texan when you're in Russia, Europe, New York, Chicago, etc... especially if you're not a Texan.

    Useful advice for street survival in the U.S.

    Similar advice for what I'm trying to say... "if you are in the woods... don't leave candy outside for the bears." And... "when you're riding the Metro... don't leave your wallet hanging from your pocket."

    I'm trying to think of some Russian equivalents...

    My advice is the equivalent of advice of three, very close, Russian friends, from many years ago... "do not try to sound or be Russian... because you are not. Be who you truly are. We like you, for who you truly are."

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