-ed followed by a consonant (Is it really possible to hear the d sound?)

EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all,

This question has puzzled me for a long time, and hopefully members from this helpful community can help me. :)

I've always wondered whether it is possible to hear the d sound in past tense verbs ending in -ed if it is followed by a consonant sound.

For example:
personalized guidance
something is followed by something else
It has puzzled me for a long time.

I've heard some voice coach saying that through a process called assimilation, in fluent speech, the d sound becomes the consonant sound that follows, so essentially the d sound disappears altogether, hence:

personalizg guidance
something is followb by something else
It has puzzlm me for a long time.

If that's the case, then there would be no difference in pronunciation between saying "followed by" and "follow by", and between "puzzled me" and "puzzle me".

Thank you for any help! :)
 
  • John Sebastián

    Senior Member
    Chinese-China
    Although I am not an English native speaker, I can say that the mothod of pronunciation below is inappropriate.

    personalizg guidance
    something is followb by something else
    It has puzzlm me for a long time.

    personalized, followed,puzzled,although the "d" sound is blocked by their following "g","b" and "m" and thus cannot be heard, the tongue must still make the movement.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Although I am not an English native speaker, I can say that the mothod of pronunciation below is inappropriate.

    personalizg guidance
    something is followb by something else
    It has puzzlm me for a long time.

    personalized, followed,puzzled,although the "d" sound is blocked by their following "g","b" and "m" and thus cannot be heard, the tongue must still make the movement.
    If the tongue must make the movement then it's not assimilation at all...it's simply unaspirated d.
    In fact I sort of copied these examples from notes written by a British voice coach (I don't want to name him as I think it would be unfair). :)
     

    John Sebastián

    Senior Member
    Chinese-China
    Let me try to take the sentence "It has puzzled me for a long time." for an example.

    When you sound "puzzled me" ,the tongue should press against the upper jaw. And actually you can hear a tiny slight pause between "d" and "m", because I think "d" is a voiced consonant, you should make a kind of "prepared sound" if it is put before another voiced consonant.

    "We must make a decision." If it's like this, then the "t" in "must" can be completely omitted to pronouce because "t" is a voiceless consonant.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I agree about assimilation in rapid, connected speech. However, I would hear the difference between puzzlm me and puzzle me. The difference is in length. Phonetically you'd have a long [mː] in the former and a short [m] for the latter.

    Of course, in slower and more careful speech, the /d/ would be pronounced as such.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I agree about assimilation in rapid, connected speech. However, I would hear the difference between puzzlm me and puzzle me. The difference is in length. Phonetically you'd have a long [mː] in the former and a short [m] for the latter.

    Of course, in slower and more careful speech, the /d/ would be pronounced as such.
    In normal, everyday speech made by native speakers, is it more common to use assimilation here, or does it depend entirely on the person? I think it might be hard to judge the length of a sound, especially for non-natives, because, after all, it's relative.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Some people will resist assimilation.

    I think length is real for native speaker. You can hear it in words like non-native, misspell, pine nut. The two n's there come out as a lengthened [nː] or [sː]. If you don't do the lengthening (and say pie nut instead of pine nut), it sounds like non-native speech (if you get my meaning).

    In puzzled me, someone who assimilates doesn't think that they are producing a [m] sound instead of a [d] sound and would still give the time required to pronounce the [d] sound.

    Other examples: grandma can come out as [grammɑː].

    See John Wells's phonetic blog on gemination: John Wells's phonetic blog
     
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    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Some people will resist assimilation.

    I think length is real for native speaker. You can hear it in words like non-native, misspell, pine nut. The two n's there come out as a lengthened [nː] or [sː]. If you don't do the lengthening (and say pie nut instead of pine nut), it sounds like non-native speech (if you get my meaning).

    In puzzled me, someone who assimilates doesn't think that they are producing a [m] sound instead of a [d] sound and would still give the time required to pronounce the [d] sound.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this. :)

    For non-natives, would you advise that, instead of thinking of this as assimilation, just pronounce the d as an unaspirated d (an unreleased plosive)? By that I mean the tongue tip still moves to the gum ridge in preparation for the d, but it's not released. This way, it makes the thought process so much easier, and would sound basically the same as assimilation with the consonant sound automatically lengthened.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    If you're a non-native speaker, you might want to adopt a more careful style, and reduce the assimilation. So, yes, having an unreleased /d/ is an option. (I think you mean unreleased rather than unaspirated. Aspiration isn't strong for voiced consonants. Unreleased means that everything is put in place for pronouncing the sound, but the puff of air that normally follows a plosive or stop isn't released, as least not audibly.)
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Edison, if you've mastered speaking and listening/understanding English to this level, you should be proud. Many sounds on the page, or in a phonetic rendering {IPA}, do not actually appear in fluent speech. It's an illusion, or near to it; sometimes there may be a tiny clue a native hears in a millisecond that makes him think he hears 'personalized guidance' with two distinguishable consonants, adjacent.

    There is a nice analogy in music, acoustics: When two tones are sounded, the ear may hear a third tone that's not there:

    Difference_Tone

    For example, if the two tones are 1500 Hz and 2000 Hz, the difference tone will be 500 Hz, if the two original tones have sufficient intensity - over about 50 dB. A police whistle, for instance, blown loudly enough will produce a difference tone which is heard as a low buzzing sound.

    --

    For example in rapid speech, the word 'grandfather' may lack the 'th', but it may be "heard" although the last two syllables, in fact, were
    'fa' and 'er'. The brain fills in the right consonant.
     
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    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If that's the case, then there would be no difference in pronunciation between saying "followed by" and "follow by", and between "puzzled me" and "puzzle me".
    There definitely is a difference in pronunciation between "followed by" and "follow by", and between "puzzled me" and "puzzle me", in my speech and in the speech of the people around me.
     

    John Sebastián

    Senior Member
    Chinese-China
    Hi Benny. This viepoint of acoustics really interests me a lot.This reminds me of the Chord in music.

    Actually, I think unless you are interested in phonology, normally it is unnecessary to entangle in such a kind of pronunciation. Just be natural and pronounce what you think is the smooth way.
    For example,"wanna" equals to "want to". I believe at the beginning there was only "want to" and afterwards, when people think it's more smooth to express what they want to say by "wanna", it appeared.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    There definitely is a difference in pronunciation between "followed by" and "follow by", and between "puzzled me" and "puzzle me", in my speech and in the speech of the people around me.
    Could you please describe the difference to me? I am really eager to learn and to speak more like a native. Take for example "followed by", is it like a lengthened b sound between the 2 words?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Could you please describe the difference to me? I am really eager to learn and to speak more like a native. Take for example "followed by", is it like a lengthened b sound between the 2 words?
    Sorry, I can't really help here because phonetics is not my field. All I can say is that I don't use a lengthened b sound between the two words; when I speak them I hear a d.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I have tried to listen for these /d/ followed by a consonant on YouTube, spoken by native speakers. But no matter how many times I listen, pause, and repeat, I still can't hear a difference, say between "followed by" and "follow by". :(
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Perhaps as a non-native, I shouldn't worry too much about skipping and changing sounds; instead, just pronounce all final consonants fully.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Perhaps as a non-native, I shouldn't worry too much about skipping and changing sounds; instead, just pronounce all final consonants fully.
    I think that is a good option. Any assimilation should come without your consciously trying to achieve it.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Perhaps as a non-native, I shouldn't worry too much about skipping and changing sounds; instead, just pronounce all final consonants fully.
    That is your best option. You're already advanced. If you go this route you will end up with excellent English. Natives will detect that it's 'too precise'! Too perfect to be native. But if that's the case, you've arrived! (If that's the worst thing about you, you're in fine shape!)
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    The -d sound sounds very clear to me too in the examples you've given ("followed by; puzzled me"). You can use this website to search Youtube for videos that contain the words "puzzled me" (or any words). It's more or less audible depending on the video and the speaker. In the fourth video (click the right arrow to scroll through the videos), the ending of the verb is very clear. The woman in the video almost pronounces it as a [t].

    Even when the sound fails to come out clearly, it might come out as a glottal stop, so "puzzle me" and "puzzled me" are always going to sound different. You can hear a "break" in the flow of the sentence when someone says "puzzled me". What I mean is that there very clearly is something between the L and the M. The words are not "smashed" together like they are when you say "puzzle me".

    I, personally, have more difficulty hearing the ending of the verb when it's followed by a "th" sound. "I watched that" VS. "I watch that", for instance
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    When I say "followed by", I say something like "fa-lo-dby". The "dby" sounds different than "by". Maybe to you, as a listener, my "dby" sounds like a lengthened B. But other speakers will say "followed by" differently.

    Years ago I did some research on computer recognition of normal speech. The main thing I learned is that normal speech is imperfect: a computer cannot identify every vowel and consonant. Neither can a human. Humans recognize words in context, even with imperfect sounds. When computers started using context (memorized thousands of phrases) they advanced rapidly.

    I believe this is true in every language. It makes it hard for language learners to understand native speakers.

    I agree with the above comments: don't try to imitate imperfections.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    When I say "followed by", I say something like "fa-lo-dby". The "dby" sounds different than "by". Maybe to you, as a listener, my "dby" sounds like a lengthened B. But other speakers will say "followed by" differently.

    Years ago I did some research on computer recognition of normal speech. The main thing I learned is that normal speech is imperfect: a computer cannot identify every vowel and consonant. Neither can a human. Humans recognize words in context, even with imperfect sounds. When computers started using context (memorized thousands of phrases) they advanced rapidly.

    I believe this is true in every language. It makes it hard for language learners to understand native speakers.

    I agree with the above comments: don't try to imitate imperfections.
    Nicely put, doji. It's in agreement with what I was trying to say in post #11. Some sounds {that show in an IPA rendering of a single word} are simply *not there*, but 'filled in' by the brain (from its store of set phrases). In fast, but ordinary, speech, for example, the 'd' in 'Goodbye' virtually disappears, to 'g'bye'.
     

    cointi

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Perhaps as a non-native, I shouldn't worry too much about skipping and changing sounds; instead, just pronounce all final consonants fully.
    Not in this (followed by) case, I'm afraid. The first sound is unreleased. The closure for the second consonant forms while the closure for the first consonant is still present. In other words: do not release the first closure until you form the second one. Doing otherwise is not a good idea. A native speaker could hear "followed a by", "follow duh by" or even "follow Dubai" should you choose to release the first consonant.
     
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