Pronunciation about consonants?

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In sentences, when is the consonants not necessary to read out? Is it decided by the speaker?
Or just between two words the former one’s phonetic symbol ended with a consonants and the following one start with a consonants, the former one’s last consonants doesn’t read out? Such as, We’ll get back to school in February /wil- gɛt - bæk -tu-skul-ɪn- fɛb ru'ɜr i/ can be read as /wil- gɛ- bæ -tu-skul-ɪn- fɛb ru'ɜr i/.
Or in any case, a word’s finishing consonants can don’t read out(may be this sentence not conform to English grammar, it means there is a possibility that a word’s finishing consonants isn’t pronounced)? Such as, Let us get it down /lɛt-ʌs- gɛt-ɪt-daʊn/, can it be read as /lɛ-ʌ- gɛ-ɪ-daʊn/?
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  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    This question is very broad, Houyi; in fact, it is too broad for this forum. One of the requirements for posting questions here is to provide some context and background. You have provided us with the background but we still need some examples as context.

    Please provide a few examples of dropped consonants.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Now that you've added examples, we can see more clearly what you mean. This is still a very broad question, so I'll just talk about some of your examples.

    /t/ often assimilates to a following consonant. So in 'get back', instead of [tb] with a clear, exploded [t], you will often hear [pb] (both consonants made at the same place, the lips) or perhaps even [bb]. This depends on the speaker and also how fast they're speaking. But [pb] for /tb/ is normal English.

    In some dialects (in much of England), /t/ at the end of a syllable is a glottal stop. Next to another consonant, this might be hard to hear: you might think it's been left out. In this accent, 'let us' has a glottal stop in the middle between the vowels, instead of a [t]. But it's not silent. Likewise in 'get' and 'it'. But this only applies to England.

    In English generally, /t/ has several different sounds. At the beginning of a syllable it has a strong aspiration (like pinyin Chinese /t/). After /s/, there is no aspiration (like pinyin /d/). And at the end of a syllable, as in 'let' or 'got', you have a choice: it can be the aspirated [t], or it can be unreleased (as in some southern Chinese languages at the end of a syllable). This unreleased sound is weaker, so before another consonant you might not hear it well.

    In general, you can't leave out final consonants. No-one leaves out the /s/ of 'us' or the /n/ of 'down', whatever their position in a sentence.


    Senior Member
    I would say the first example as [ˈwɪiɫɡɛ̝t(p)̚ˈbɐk̚tə̹ˈskʉu̯ɫ̩ɪnˈfɛbɹʉˌɛə̯˞̯i], approximately. I could not find the symbol for simultaneous closure, but where I have [t(p)], I mean I pronounce t and p simultaneously, with the closure for t perhaps slightly ahead of that for p.

    I'll add two more sounds for t that apply where I live. Between vowels, the first of which is stressed and the second unstressed, t is realized as a flap. This flap is normally unvoiced, but in rapid speech it becomes voiced so that it sounds just like a flapped d: [ˈlɛɾ̥ʌsˈɡɛɾɪt̚ˈdæɔ̯n].

    I would not aspirate any of the unvoiced consonants in these two examples, but I might aspirate the a little because it occurs at the maximally stressed part of the sentence.
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