Writer vs Rider [AE pronunciation]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by -Styx-, May 17, 2012.

  1. -Styx- New Member

    Italian - Italy
    Hi everybody, are the words "Writer" and "Rider" pronounced the same in American English?
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Many people pronounce them very similarly. Most Americans do not have a distinct "t" sound in words like "writer". It's closer to a "d" sound.
  3. shily

    shily Member

    writer ['raɪtɚ]
  4. shily

    shily Member

    rider ['raɪdɚ]
  5. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    English (US)
    Most Americans pronounce the "t" or "writer" and the "d" of "rider" identically. Because "write" and "ride" end in different consonants, people sometimes think they say a different consonant in the -er forms even when they do not. And when the word is spoken slowly, the normal /t/ of "writer" may indeed be retained. But in normal speech it is unusual to distinguish the consonants in the -er forms.

    A complicating fact is that many people have a different initial vowel (diphthong) in the two words. This follows from the fact that vowels tend to be longer and/or the diphthong tends to be different before voiced consonants (like /d/) than before voiceless consonants (like /t/), and this difference is established for these speakers "before" the difference in consonants is neutralized by the presence of the following vowel in the -er ending. For these speakers, the surprising answer to Styx's question is, yes, the words are pronounced differently, but the difference is in the "i", not in the "t" vs "d".

    A similar situation exists with respect to writing vs riding, etc.

    (I don't believe shily's distinction is correct for most Americans in normal speech.)
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  6. mplsray Senior Member

    The correct representation in the International Phonetic Alphabet for the merged pronunciation, in American Speech, is ['raɪɾər]. The consonant in question is called an alveolar tap.
  7. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US

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