[Ads-l] /d/ for flapped t

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 15 14:40:43 UTC 2014

RE:  <OED's choice of /d/ for American flapped /t/>
WB:  Seems to me, in <cathartic>, the <t> is not flapped, but is an
unaspirated allophone of /t/, which, however, most people (without IPA
training) will interpret as having a sound most associated with the
letter <d>. It's the old phonemic conundrum:   We could spell <stop>
(with de-aspirated /t/) or <sdop> (with devoiced /d/).  Reminds me of
a time long, long ago, when a fellow I knew used to pronounce
<supposed to> as [ZBOZE-duh] from [SPOZE-tuh] from [suh-PhOZE-tuh].
Conclusion:  OED has yielded to the American impression of unaspirated
/t/ as feeling most like the letter <d> (cf. APA <D> for flap).

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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