pronunciation: stop versus sdop

Discussion in 'English Only' started by 0216monty, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. 0216monty Member

    Chinese - Cantonese, Mandarin
    Do you say stop as sdop?

    Or could it be that stop is just sounded out like sdop while you never actually intend to pounce it that way?

    We were taught, as least where I live, to say st as sd when it is followed by a vowel.

    There is a long list of such words, like sdeady, sdar, sdink, sdar, sdupid, websder... just to give you an example.

    But I always wonder how much truth there is in it. Could anyone please clarify this for me?
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    There is no truth to it at all (the way I was raised :))... the sound is st in all your examples.
  3. m11 Member

    English - US
    Many times as English speakers we get lazy in our pronunciation. The "t" is supposed to sound as a "t". The only difference between a "T" and a "D" is that the "D" is voiced. You have to use your vocal chords to produce the sound. Since "ST" is normally followed by a vowel (and all vowels are voiced) the "T" sometimes gets voiced making it sound like a "D"

    Hope that explains the reasoning a little. I pronounce the "T" as a "T" in all of your examples.
  4. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Actually, the letter combination sd at the beginning of a word is almost impossible to pronounce, and we avoid it. I don't know of any English word that begins with that combination. Within words, I think sd always falls on either side of a syllable, as in Thurs-day, for instance.

    Of course, I don't know how you pronounce a t or a d, so I don't know what the difference is that you are referring to.

    There are sound clips of both the US and UK pronunciations with the definition of stop in the WordReference Dictionary. You may want to listen them.
  5. 0216monty Member

    Chinese - Cantonese, Mandarin
    Thank you both for the explanation. But from what I have heard from English speaking people, "T" and "D" still sounds quite differently, as in tea and deed (you can leave out d and make it dee). While I'm convinced the sound should always be st in the given examples, I find it a little bit hard to comprehend. I know I'm wrong, but still to my ears, the sound d as in words like sdink comes much more closer to what a native speaker would say.

    To clear my doubts, could you tell me does T is sounded "T" instead' "D" as in webster at the link below?.

    If the pronunciation is given correctly and the speak doesn't say sd, I would know it is just me, or some other ESL students that often mishear it.

    It may be a little bit off topic, but for display is the sound sp too, I assume? I was told to say disblay, and again it makes sense to me, even though I know it is wrong.
  6. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    It's st and sp all the way... BUT, you will find that for many people the st and sd sound differences are almost indistinguishable for some words, such as Webster. But you should try to pronounce these words correctly. Pretend you're a newscaster where your job depends on it.*

    *Or maybe not... in Hong Kong we have suffered for years with English-speaking Chinese news presenters saying "Dousand" instead of "Thousand." It's awful, truly awful. :rolleyes:
  7. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I had to search for the word, but I assume you meant for us to listen to "stop". (It's not your fault. The dictionary sometimes won't let you link to a word.)

    Yes, that sounds like a T to me. As I said, the combination sd is nearly impossible for us to say at the start of a word.

    Yes, we say sp in display. Once more, listen to the sound clip display. If you want to discuss it further, please start a new thread.
  8. 0216monty Member

    Chinese - Cantonese, Mandarin
    Thank you all for all your help. I think you have given me enough information, and I'm going to spend some time on it, seriously, to find out why I tend to mispronounce, or create a sound that doesn't exist at all.

    Thank you again.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    Hello Monty. Maybe you were taught that way because there's something about the way you sound your Chinese t's that ... well, that's where this sentence ends because I don't know anything at all about any kind of Chinese pronunciation.

    I can tell you this, though. There are different types of d and t. For example, English /d/ and /t/ are much 'heavier' sounds than French /d/ and /t/. The English versions are pronounced with the tongue on the back of the upper teeth ridge; in French they're pronounced with the tongue on the back of the teeth. (etc.)

    I think you should have a go at analyzing how you pronounce your own Chinese /d/ and /t/ and, if you're sufficiently interested, find a book on phonetics to see how Cantonese/Mandarin 'dentals' differ from English ones:)
  10. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The difference between top and dop is that in the first the vowel o does not begin immediately after the plosion of t: instead, for a fraction of a second after the plosion, there is a silence.

    I listened to both the US and UK pronunciations in the Wordreference dictionary. I think that in each case stop was pronounced as dop with an s preceding. In other words, I detected no silence between the plosion and the vowel.
  11. Aidanriley

    Aidanriley Senior Member

    SD, California
    as in tea and deed (you can leave out d and make it dee).
    Who said this? I don't think you can make it dee.. it's deed! The second d is pronounced.
  12. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The 't' sounds in 'top' and 'stop' are very different, and the difference will be obvious to a Chinese speaker such as yourself. The 't' in 'stop' is close to the 'd' in 'dog' but not exactly the same.

    The difference between the 'top' and 'stop' sounds is that the /t/ of 'top' has aspiration, a heavy puff of breath. This makes it like the Mandarin sound in [ta] "he, she, it". But the sound in 'stop' has no puff of breath, so it's like the Mandarin sound in [dà] "big". One sound is used after /s/, the other sound is used everywhere else.

    The English sound /d/ as in 'dog' also has no puff of breath, so it is very similar to the /t/ in 'stop', and can even be the same. Sometimes it's voiced, but this is not essential. You could easily use exactly the same sound in 'stop' and 'dog' and it would sound like good English. There are no English words that have /st/ or /sd/ in contrast. It makes no difference whether you regard 'stop' as /stop/ or /sdop/. The important thing is that the sound is very different from the /t/ in 'top'.
  13. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I've just read this thread from the beginning, itching to say "the t in 'stop' and the t in 'top' are different - the difference is that the t in 'top' is aspirated".

    And now I see that etb has said it first - and much better - and hours ago....


    I agree with etb!:D
  14. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    :thumbsup: Me too. (Of course that's exactly what I would have said if I'd known what I was talking about:D)

Share This Page