pronunciation: TR [true, truth, train, trust] = similar to CH / chance, etc?

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ShakespeareLass

Senior Member
Hebrew
Hello to all the members

I asked my teacher this question today but I want to make sure that she was right.

I pononuce the words which strat in TR, such True, Truth, Train, Trust and so on very similar to the way I prononce the prefix of the words Cheer & Chance, e.g.

I'd just like to know if this way of my prononciation is understable and acceptable?

I will be thankful if only native speakers could help me with this. I really need your help.

Thank you all, a lot.
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Please see this thread, Shakespearelass: Pronunciation of /t/ [tu, tr].

    It is the same question, but the discussion is carried on in IPA symbols, so it won't be helpful unless you know what those symbols mean. I hope that some helpful person who does know those symbols will post an explanation of the relevant IPA symbols in that thread.

    (Note: People don't have to be native speakers of English in order to explain those symbols to the rest of us.)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    There is an excellent resource called forvo.com in which native speakers pronounce words.

    Around here, the tongue touches the roof of the mouth for a "ch" sound and not for a "tr" sound. There is little, if any, similarity.
     

    ShakespeareLass

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I did check it out, the link that you Cagey gave me and the website that you, sdgrsham gave me.
    I only now learned what IPA is, so it's a very new thing for me. (After you mentioned that, I searched it on Google. But basically - I know nothing about that.)
    But still, to my ears, some words in the AE still sound to me as similar pronuncaition with CH. Especially words as trial, truth and try.
    I don't want to make a mistake in the way I'd pronounce those words. I truly need your help here. Is the way I'm pronounced those words is understable and acceptable?

    Thank you very much.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The key symbols for your question are:

    /t/ - the first sound in tin
    /j/ - the first sound in yin
    /ʧ/ - the first sound of chin

    As you can see from the symbol, /ʧ/ is pronounced by 'combining' two sounds (this is known as an affricate) ' /t/ and /ʃ/ (the first sound in shin). If you try to say /ʃ/, and move your tongue to the position for saying /t/, you get /ʧ/. That is why there is some similarity between the t and ch sounds (which you don't see because of the very different spelling).

    I have heard accents where I think people say /ʧru:/ rather than /tru:/. I don't do this myself, and it might be best if you're learning English to say the latter rather than the former.

    The /tj/ combination often leads to /ʧ/ - so now we have words like nature. In words like this, please do use /ʧ/. To say /tj/ would sound very fuddy duddy! :)
     

    ShakespeareLass

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I'm appreciating the help so very much, I really do. But I think I'd rather word my question this way;

    What is the way I'm supposed to pronounce the combination of tr?

    I'm sorry, but somehow I just don't get it.

    I suspect I'm saying the prefix of these words which start in tr as chr. I also hear that often in TV series (American TV series) and on some dictionary online. (Or, at least, I think that's what I hear.)
    I just want to know; am I pronuonce it right? I feel lost and confused about that, I don't want to make a mistake, and I can't bother my teacher anymore about this same subject. I value all the help I've got here, thank you all so so much :confused:
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think you will be understood if you said chrue rather than true. The thing is, are you satisfied about just being understood. To say true with a /t/ rather than /ʧ/, you have to put the tip of your tongue at the place where your teeth meet the gum, and not have the rest of the tongue come into contact with the roof of your mouth. Does that make sense?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I often pronounce words such as tree and train with a ch instead of a tree. I first noticed this when it was discussed at Language Log a year or two back.
     

    ShakespeareLass

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    The thing is that I've got in-class lecture tomorrow and suddenly I've got stage fright, which focuses on the way I pronounce some words. It never bothered me before so I guess whoever said that there's a first time for everything, knew what they were talking about.
    So as far as I understand it would be acceptable to pronounce these words with a prefix of ch/chr instead of tr?
    I don't want to disappoint myself or my teacher. I'm still in high school and I know it's not a very big deal to lecture facing your whole classmates but I don't want to feel more embarrassed than I do now, so I really, really really appreciate any help. Thank you anyone who helps me once again.
     

    Hamton

    New Member
    English - United States - Midwest
    It is true ("chroo") that this t-letter/ch-sound phenomenon is common usage but at times goes unnoticed by native speakers. It is natural ("nachural") speech that is often not even thought of until one day somebody says, "Wait, why does "t" often sound like "ch"? Isn't that weird?" Thank you for noticing.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    This new question has been added to a previous thread. Cagey, moderator

    is between tr as in try , true and ch as in chair ,.. difference or pronounce them exact same
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    "tr" and "ch" are totally different. Do they sound the same to you?

    I pronounce "tr" (a stop followed by a liquid sound) with my tongue tip against the alveolar ridge, and "ch" (a fricative, not a stop) with the top of my tongue (not the tip) against a further-back spot on the mouth roof.

    "Ch" and "sh" and "j" are pronounced in the same spot.

    "T" and "s" and "d" are pronounced in the same spot.
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I speak more-or-less standard American English and I find that in careless speech I pronounce "try" with a somewhat affricated "t". It isn't exactly the same sound as my "ch", the point of contact of the tongue being a little farther forward on the alveolar ridge, but it's not a pure stop (like the "t" in "tie") either.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    I speak more-or-less standard American English and I find that in careless speech I pronounce "try" with a somewhat affricated "t". It isn't exactly the same sound as my "ch", the point of contact of the tongue being a little farther forward on the alveolar ridge, but it's not a pure stop (like the "t" in "tie") either.
    but I pronounce like this , very different from ch but americans pronounce it very same ch sound
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    but I pronounce like this , very different from ch but americans pronounce it very same ch sound
    Let's clarify what it is that you're claiming. Do you mean that you hear Americans pronounce "tr" as "ch", with no hint of an "r" sound (i.e., the exact same pronunciation for "try" as for the word "chai")? Because I'm having trouble with that. Of course you and I don't know the same Americans, but I don't think I've ever heard that pronunciation. I'm willing to believe that the "t" of "try" is sometimes pronounced as (or close to) "ch", but there's always an "r" there. However, I could believe you're having trouble hearing the American retroflex "r" because it's quite different from Farsi "r".
    When I pronounce "try", the tongue moves from the stop position on the alveolar ridge (which is what creates the "t") by curling backwards under the hard palate toward the back of the mouth (which is what creates the "r"). Sometimes a transient [ʃ] occurs during this process, which can create the impression of a "ch" sound. But the retroflexion of the tongue, and therefore the American "r" sound, still occurs.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    I heard try like chry, not chai
    thank for explain , I do whateve you say but not like chry it is very difficult
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It seems to me, just practicing myself, that it only comes out sounding like "ch" if I have my teeth at the back clenched at the beginning of the sound. If my teeth aren't touching, it comes out as a "t". That's what I would recommend: Don't let your teeth clench at the beginning in order to get a pure "t" sound, which you should aim for.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    It seems to me, just practicing myself, that it only comes out sounding like "ch" if I have my teeth at the back clenched at the beginning of the sound. If my teeth aren't touching, it comes out as a "t". That's what I would recommend: Don't let your teeth clench at the beginning in order to get a pure "t" sound, which you should aim for.
    for create r sound pull tongue over roof of mouth or after pronounce "t" dosenot toch roof of mouth??
     

    ChemaSaltasebes

    Senior Member
    Castellano (España)
    The actual problem for us foreigners is the very "t" explosive sound. For me, as a Spaniard, English "t" is much closer to a "ch" sound than to my own Spanish "t". That is why I tend to hear "ch" instead of "t" and "chr" instead of "tr". And it is not that I confuse a "chr" sound and a "tr" sound in English -or a "t" and a "ch", although sometimes you guys make those sound just so so similar! (and some others it is just the way to go, as in "nature" (na-chA)); the fact is that English ch/chr and t/tr sound way close to Spanish "ch" and very (very!) different to my home-t/tr.

    As for consciously positioning the tongue in a certain way in order to produce a particular sound that has never been useful, to me at least. Too bad I guess!
     

    CT Yankee

    New Member
    English - American
    @RM1(SS) I wonder if using the ch sound is a Connecticut, USA thing since I am also from CT and find that I use the ch sound for many "tr" words. I am only now looking into the proper pronunciation since I am teaching kindergarteners in Thailand and want to teach them properly. I would be surprised if most people listening would really find fault or even notice that the ch sound was used in place of the tr sound. However, I strive to be as exact as possible with my students.
     

    CT Yankee

    New Member
    English - American
    I think you will be understood if you said chrue rather than true. The thing is, are you satisfied about just being understood. To say true with a /t/ rather than /ʧ/, you have to put the tip of your tongue at the place where your teeth meet the gum, and not have the rest of the tongue come into contact with the roof of your mouth. Does that make sense?
    Upon giving this some thought, I would like to add to this if I may. The ch sound occurs when rolling the tongue back from t to r (also the case of d to r sounding like jr) rather than disengaging and then reengaging for the r sound. I am surprised to hear that so many people don't think this is common. This is how I believe most people from Connecticut, USA speak and I have been told by many foreigners that unlike many Americans, people from CT don't seem to have an accent and are easy to understand.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    This thread is not comparing TR with CHR. It is comparing TR with CH. Both T and CH are consonants. It isn't suprising that T+R sounds similar to CH+R, but that is a different topic.

    In American R, nothing touches. The tongue touches nothing. American R is close to a vowel in that way.

    The ch sound occurs when rolling the tongue back from t to r (also the case of d to r sounding like jr) rather than disengaging and then reengaging for the r sound.
    Since the tongue does not touch anything for R, I am not sure what "reengages" means.

    But it probably makes sense, if it just means "taking the R shape". The tongue and mouth is in one shape for the T sound, and in a new shape for the R sound. Going directly from one shape to the other shape makes a CH sound.
     
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    CT Yankee

    New Member
    English - American
    This thread is not comparing TR with CHR. It is comparing TR with CH. Both T and CH are consonants. It isn't suprising that T+R sounds similar to CH+R, but that is a different topic.

    In American R, nothing touches. The tongue touches nothing. American R is closer to a vowel in that way. This sound only exists in a few languages: American English and Mandarin Chinese are 2 of them.


    Reengage with what?

    My tongue does not "reengage for the R sound", because my tongue does not touch (or approach) anything for the r sound. I say the American R sound without using my tongue at all. The tongue is out of the way (flat at the bottom of my mouth) for R, like it is for vowels.
    So, if I understand correctly when you say the word "red", your tongue stays flat on the bottom of your mouth. I find this to be curious because when I say the "r" in red, the back of my tongue touches the back teeth on both sides of my mouth. That is the reengaging that I am talking about.

    As far as the topic not addressing CHR, if you have read the various comments throughout this feed, the CHR is discussed. In fact, as I had originally surmised, at least in one instance, the foreign speaker referred to TR versus CH only to clarify after being asked that they meant CHR.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    when I say the "r" in red, the back of my tongue touches the back teeth on both sides of my mouth. That is the reengaging that I am talking about.
    Thanks for explaining. I edited my post after you read it, realizing that the back of my tongue is involved with saying R. It might not (in my mouth) touch the teeth, but it does get close to them.
    In fact, as I had originally surmised, at least in one instance, the foreign speaker referred to TR versus CH only to clarify after being asked that they meant CHR.
    I don't see that. OP doesn't mention any CHR words. OP says:
    I pononuce the words which strat in TR, such True, Truth, Train, Trust and so on very similar to the way I prononce the prefix of the words Cheer & Chance,
    OP's only mention of CHR is this:
    So as far as I understand it would be acceptable to pronounce these words with a prefix of ch/chr instead of tr?
     

    CT Yankee

    New Member
    English - American
    Thanks for explaining. I edited my post after you read it, realizing that the back of my tongue is involved with saying R. It might not (in my mouth) touch the teeth, but it does get close to them.

    I don't see that. OP doesn't mention any CHR words. OP says:

    OP's only mention of CHR is this:
    The "at least one instance" I am referring to is between moseen and Hercules... and there are others that mention CHR.

    As far as chr being acceptable I would have to say that even though I have said it that way my entire life, it doesn't mean that I am saying it correctly. If you are saying it where I grew up, it would be very common, but TR is the correct pronunciation and what I will do my best to remember when I teach it.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    @RM1(SS) I wonder if using the ch sound is a Connecticut, USA thing since I am also from CT and find that I use the ch sound for many "tr" words.
    Maybe because your pronunciation is more similar to ours on this side of the pond? This is my normal, Standard Southern British English pronunciation:
    Chry - try
    Chrain - train
    Chrue - true
    Chruth -truth.
     
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