Linking with the Contraction "I'd"

Jul 19, 2021

Linking with the Contraction "I'd"

7/19/2021

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(Video Transcript)

Hi, I'm Julie with San Diego Voice and Accent, and today I'm going to talk about linking using the contraction “I'd”.

 

This video is a request from one of my accent clients. He said he has difficulty linking the contraction “I'd” with words that begin with D, Z, TH, G, and R. 

 

Common pronunciation errors of non-native English speakers

This is a wonderful topic for a video because the I'd contraction, which can represent the words I would or I had, ends with a D consonant. And in many cases, this D consonant becomes an unreleased D consonant, which in my experience, can be very challenging for non-native speakers to pronounce. And here are the three most common things that non native speakers do when trying to pronounce an unreleased D.

 

Number one - they might pronounce a fully released D consonant instead of an unreleased D consonant. You will still be understood if you use a fully released D consonant, but it will disrupt the flow and the rhythm of your speech. Here’s an example:

 

That’s how I'd do it. 

That’s how I'd do it.

 

Did you hear the quick release after the D in “I'd”? 

 

That’s how I'd do it.

 

That’s a released D consonant. Now listen to the same sentence with an unreleased D consonant - can you hear the difference in the flow and the rhythm?

 

That’s how I'd do it.

That’s how I'd do it.

 

Here they are side by side.

 

Or number two - they might devoice the D consonant, which turns it into a T consonant. This can be confusing for the listener because they might hear a completely different word than what was intended by the speaker. 

 

Here’s an example:

 

That’s how I'd do it. 

That’s how I'd do it.

 

It sounded like I said the word “aight”, not “I'd”. Listen to both sentences side by side.

 

Or number three - they might delete the final D consonant completely. This can be confusing for the listener because this type of deletion usually results in a grammar error, so the listener will hear a different verb tense than what was intended by the speaker. Here’s an example:

 

That’s how I'd do it.

That’s how I'd do it.

 

This is a grammatically correct sentence, but based on the context of the conversation, if I had meant to say “That’s how I would do it”, this type of deletion results in a completely different sentence with a different meaning.

 

Listen to both sentences side by side.

 

How to pronounce an unreleased D consonant

The unreleased D consonant sounds like this: 

 

D

D

D

 

The tongue tip comes up to the alveolar ridge for the D consonant, the vocal cords vibrate, the airflow is stopped - and then the tongue tip remains in contact with the alveolar ridge. There is no release of air, no aspiration, no puff of air - it’s just D, D, D.

 

The unreleased D vs. nasal N

It’s important to remember that the unreleased D is not a nasal sound. There shouldn’t be any air that escapes out of the nose. Put your finger under your nose to test this - do you feel airflow out of your nose as you say an unreleased D? D, D, D.

 

If so, you’re probably saying an N consonant, not a D consonant. It’s tricky because the tongue placement is pretty much the same for the D and the N consonants, but the difference is the soft palate. The soft palate lifts up for the D consonant, which forces all of the airflow to build up inside of the mouth. When you pronounce an N consonant, the soft palate is down to allow the air to flow out of the nose. 

 

Listen to the difference between an unreleased D and an N consonant:

 

DDD

NNN

 

Unreleased D in Audacity

I want to show you what an unreleased D looks like in a waveform. A waveform is a visual representation of a sound, and each sound has a different waveform. So you will be able to see when I pronounce an unreleased D versus a released D or deleting the D completely because the waveforms will look different. I'm going to use an application called Audacity to do this.

 

Okay so now I have Audacity open on my computer, and I want to first show you what a waveform looks like on Audacity. So I'll hit record here, and I'm just going to start talking and you can see that there are some blue lines moving up and down. That's the sound of my voice, that's the waveform that's recorded in Audacity, and you can see that each sound looks a little bit different. Some of the waveforms are big. If I get really loud and hold it out, you can see the waveform gets really big. If I'm really quiet, the waveform gets really small. And so this is how I'm going to show you what the unreleased D looks like compared to a released D or to a devoiced D, which turns into a T sound, or if you omit the D completely. So I'll stop recording here and we'll start a new recording. I'm going to say the sentence that's how I'd do it four times, and I'm going to pronounce the word I'd differently each time. First the D sound will be released, second the D sound will be unreleased, third the D sound will be devoiced, which will make it sound more like a T consonant, and fourth the D sound will be omitted completely. And then I'll show you what the D sound looks like in each sentence.

 

That's how I'd do it. Sentence number two, that's how I'd do it. Sentence number three, that's how aight (I’d) do it. Sentence number four, that's how I (I’d) do it. Okay so I have all four sentences here. Each sentence is on its own track, and we're going to listen to this first one. This is the one with the released D in the word I'd. That's how I'd do it. Okay now this second sentence is the one that has the unreleased D. That's how I'd do it. And then this sentence here is the one that has the devoiced D that turns into a T consonant, that's how aight (I‘d) do it. And then this last sentence here is the one with the D sound omitted completely, so there's no D at all. That's how I (I’d) do it. Okay so hopefully you can hear the difference between all of those sentences. Let's take a closer look at this sentence on the top, and I'm going to zoom in right here. This is where I'm saying I'd do it so right here is where the release happens. Let me zoom in so you can see the waveform a little bit better. The blue indicates voicing. That's my voice. I'm talking right here, but you'll notice right here there's nothing. There's no blue waveform. That's where the release is happening. That's the break between the released D and then the start of the D in do. So let me just play this part here.

 

I'd do it, I'd do it, I'd do it. So right there you'll notice this is the end of the D in I'd, there's a break in the voicing when I do the release, and then here the D picks up again in the word do. So now let's look at this next sentence here. This sentence has the unreleased D and right here is where I say I’d do it. You'll notice right here the voicing continues. My voice is on the whole time with this unreleased D. The tongue tip is up but my voicing continues, so there's no break. I’d do it, I’d do it. So let's listen to this part here, how I'd do it , how I'd do it. Just this part here, and let's listen very closely, I’d do, I’d do, I’d do

 

That's the unreleased D. It's this part right here. So the voicing continues - there's still a waveform there versus here there's a complete break in the voicing. It stops because I'm doing the release, I'd do it. This one here, that's the D sound, I’d do it, and it just continues. The voicing continues on. Let's look at the next sentence, and this is the one where the D sound is devoiced, and again you'll see that there is a big gap here. And that's because the voicing has stopped. I've essentially turned the D sound into a T consonant. So let's listen to this sentence, that's how aight (I’d) do it. It sounds like a glottal stop, that's how aight (I’d) do it, that's how aight (I'd) do it. My tongue tip came up, but my voicing stopped so it turned it into a T. Let's listen again. That's how aight (I’d) do it. And here is the section where this is the ending of the first D, there's a break in my voicing, and then the next D begins here. Let's listen to that part. 

 

You can hear a quick little break there. And now let's look at the last sentence. So this is the one where the D sound is gone completely, and so you'll see right here is where the D sound in I'd should be, but you'll see some voicing. You still see some blue line connecting them together, and that's because there is no D. I do it. The I'd turns into the vowel i, and that has continuous voicing all the way through. So let's listen to this one. That's how I (I’d) do it.

 

That's how I (I’d) do it. So right here is where I'm saying I do it. So the voicing continues -  there's no stop, there's no D. It's just, I do it. So hopefully looking at these waveforms helps you to see what's happening with the D sound in the word I'd. Again this is the one where the D sound is released, so you have the D in I'd right here the release where the voicing stops, and then it continues for the D in do. Here's the D sound in I'd, and it just continues I’d do, like the unreleased D continues right here. Here you have the D turning into a T sound because I've devoiced it, so there's a break in the voicing right here. And here there is no D sound, so this is the vowel AI continuing on to the D in do, so you'll see the voicing continue here.

 

My accent client asked specifically for examples of linking the word “I'd” with the D, Z, TH, G, and R consonants, so that’s what we’ll practice in this video.

 

Linking D with D

First, linking with a D consonant. Let’s use the sentence, That’s how I'd do it. The nice thing about linking the word “I'd” with the word “do” is they share the D consonant. So to make this link, you’ll bring the tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge for the final D in “I'd”, then keep it there - don’t release it - and transition directly into the D in “do”.  So the tongue tip comes up once - for the D in I'd. Then the tongue tip comes down as you say the D in “do”.

 

That’s how I'd do it.

That’s how I'd do it.

 

Now you’ll see this sentence up close and in slow motion. Pay attention to the final D in “I'd” -  you should hear and see a slightly longer D sound where the two D consonants link up.

 

Now for the practice. I’ll play the sentence three more times, then you’ll have a chance to repeat.

 

Linking D with Z

Now let’s work on linking with a Z consonant. Let’s use the sentence, “I'd zip up your coat now”. When you link a D to a Z consonant, the tongue placement of the D consonant changes to be closer to the tongue placement of the Z consonant. This is called assimilation, and it happens often when two sounds are next to each other. 

 

The assimilation that happens in this context is the tongue placement of the D consonant lowers to the back of the upper front teeth. That’s where the tongue tip touches, not at the alveolar ridge. So the tongue tip comes to the back of the upper front teeth, it touches to stop the airflow and make the D sound, then the tongue transitions immediately to the Z consonant. This is an unreleased D consonant, so you should feel that the tongue tip touches the back of the teeth and then stays there for the D consonant. Then the tongue tip moves to make the Z consonant. 

 

I'd zip up your coat now.

I'd zip up your coat now.

 

Now you’ll see this sentence up close and in slow motion. Pay attention to the tongue placement of the final D in “I'd” -  you should see that the tongue tip is lower in the mouth and actually touches the back of the upper front teeth for the D sound.


Now for the practice. I’ll play the sentence three more times, then you’ll have a chance to repeat.

 

Linking D with TH

Now let’s work on linking with a TH consonant. Let’s use the sentence, “I'd think about it some more.” When you link a D to a TH consonant, the process of assimilation happens again. The tongue placement of the D consonant changes so that it can be more similar to the tongue placement of the TH consonant. And in this case, the tongue placement of the D consonant is pretty much in the same place as the TH consonant - with the tongue tip between the upper and lower teeth. This is an unreleased D consonant, so you should feel that the tongue tip comes between the front teeth, then the top part of the tongue touches the back of the upper front teeth to stop the airflow, then the tongue transitions immediately to the TH sound. 

 

I'd think about it some more.

I'd think about it some more.

 

Now you’ll see this sentence up close and in slow motion. Pay attention to the tongue placement of the final D in “I'd” -  you should see that the tongue tip comes between the teeth for the D sound.

 

Now for the practice. I’ll play the sentence three more times, then you’ll have a chance to repeat.

 

Linking D with G

Now let’s practice linking with the G consonant. Let’s use the sentence, “I'd gone to the store already.” When you link a D to a G consonant, two things can happen. You can use an unreleased D consonant to link to the G consonant, which means the tongue tip comes up to the alveolar ridge to make the D consonant and then it stays there - there isn’t a release. The tongue tip comes up, the voicing continues, and the airflow is stopped. Then the tongue moves back for the G consonant.

 

I'd gone to the store already.

I'd gone to the store already.

 

Or, you can use a mini-released D consonant - think of it as almost like a flap sound. It’s quick and light. So the tongue tip comes up to the alveolar ridge for the D consonant, then the tongue tip comes down quickly, and the tongue moves back for the G consonant.

 

I'd gone to the store already.

I'd gone to the store already.

 

Now you’ll see both sentences up close and in slow motion. The first sentence will have an unreleased D consonant, and the second sentence will have a mini-released D consonant.

 

Now for the practice. I’ll play the sentence three more times, then you’ll have a chance to repeat.

 

Linking D with R

Now let’s practice linking with the R consonant. Let’s use the sentence, “I'd rather order the steak.” When you link a D consonant to an R consonant, it feels the most natural to me to use a mini-released D consonant. So again, think of this D consonant as almost like a flap - the tongue tip comes up quickly to the alveolar ridge, then it comes down quickly. Then the tongue moves back for the R consonant.

 

I'd rather order the steak.

I'd rather order the steak.

 

Now you’ll see the sentence up close and in slow motion. Pay attention to the mini-released D consonant - it will be fast.

 

Now for the practice. I’ll play the sentence three more times, then you’ll have a chance to repeat.

 

I hope this video helps your linking skills and your pronunciation of an unreleased D consonant! Thanks so much for watching, and have a great day!