Nasal Plosion and a Final T Consonant

Jan 11, 2021

Nasal Plosion and a Final T Consonant

1/11/2021

Want to work with Julie? Click here!

This video is for all the advanced English speakers out there!! Let's combine two important (and tricky) pronunciation areas of American English: The T consonant and nasal plosion! And you'll test your pronunciation with a listening quiz at the end!

(Video Transcript)

 

Hi, I’m Julie with San Diego Voice and Accent, and in this video you’ll learn how to pronounce words that use nasal plosion with a final T consonant.



In an earlier video, I discussed nasal plosion, which can occur in the words sudden, widen, and hidden. The viewer “Learn with Ramzy” asked a great question about nasal plosion in words like student, which have a T consonant at the end. Thank you, Ramzy, for this video suggestion!

 

How to pronounce nasal plosion

Here is a quick review of nasal plosion. It can occur in words that have a final, unstressed D + N combination. Instead of pronouncing the full final syllable, like “din” in the word sudden, you can use an unreleased D, omit the vowel, and then move from the unreleased D to a syllabic N consonant. 

 

This makes the word sudden sound like sudden

 

To make nasal plosion, you’ll place the front of the tongue at the alveolar ridge for the D consonant, and then move directly to the N consonant without moving the tongue. You should feel a quick burst of air come out of the nose as you say the N consonant. 

 

Sudden. 



How to pronounce student with nasal plosion

Now let’s look at the word student. You can pronounce this as student, pronouncing the final syllable as “duhnt”, with a released D, the schwa vowel, and a true T at the end.

 

Duhnt

 

Duhnt

 

Duhnt



But you can also use nasal plosion in this word in two ways. You can use nasal plosion and a true T at the end:



Student (with true T)

Student (with true T)



Or, you can use nasal plosion and a stop T at the end:

 

Student (with a stop T)

Student (with a stop T)



Let’s take a closer look at those two pronunciations. 

 

How to pronounce student with a true T

First, the true T. The tongue tip should already be up at the alveolar ridge for the nasal plosion in the last syllable - the D + N combination. The tongue stays at that same spot for the true T - you don’t need to move it. You simply build up a small amount of air pressure behind the tongue tip, and you release the tongue. 

 

I’ll say it slowly you can hear the nasal plosion and true T combination.

 

Student (with true T)

Student (with true T)

 

Can you hear the release of air as I say the true T sound?

 

Student (with true T)



How to pronounce student with a stop T

Now, the stop T. The tongue placement is exactly the same - the tongue tip is up at the alveolar ridge for the nasal plosion, then the tongue stays there as you say the stop T with the vocal cords. And the final syllable is a little shorter.

 

I’ll say it slowly so you can hear the nasal plosion and stop T combination.

 

Student (with a stop T)

Student (with a stop T)



A lot of clients will ask me - how will someone know that I’ve said the T sound if I use a stop T? Don’t I have to use a true T? 

 

No - as long as you stop the airflow with the vocal cords - nt - that will signal to your listener that you said a T sound.

 

But you must stop the airflow - if you don’t, then your listener will hear a final N sound in the word student, not a T sound.

 

Student with and without a final T

I’ll say the word student with nasal plosion, and I’ll say it with the stop T and then without any stop to the airflow, which means no T sound at all. Listen to the difference.

 

Student (with a stop T)

Studen (not a real word; no T)

 

Student (with a stop T)

Studen (not a real word; no T)



Did you hear the abrupt stop of the airflow and the shorter final syllable when I used the stop T? 

 

Student (with a stop T)

 

That stop needs to be there - that is what signals you said a T sound.



How to pronounce wouldn't

Let’s practice this using the word wouldn’t

 

Now I just pronounced wouldn’t with nasal plosion and a stop T at the end.

 

Wouldn’t (with stop T)

Wouldn’t (with stop T)



If I don’t stop the airflow with my vocal cords, I’ll end up saying this word:

 

Wooden

 

As in, “I stirred the cookie dough with a wooden spoon”. 

 

Wooden

 

Now the word wouldn’t, which can be pronounced exactly the same as wooden, using nasal plosion in the final syllable, but you add a stop T at the end, and the final syllable is a little shorter.

 

Wouldn’t (with stop T)

Wouldn’t (with stop T)




Listening quiz: Nasal plosion + Final T

Let’s do a quick listening quiz. I’ll say a word that has the nasal plosion and final T combination. I want you to listen for two things: 1) Did you hear a T sound or not? And 2) If you heard a T sound, which type of T sound did you hear - a true T or a stop T?

 

Student (with stop T)

 

Wooden (no T)

 

Couldn’t (with True T)

 

Hadn’t (with stop T)

 

Shouldn (*not a real word) (no T)



I hope this video helped you to pronounce words with nasal plosion and a final T consonant. Thanks for watching, and let me know how I can help you master the American accent!