Differences between American & British English

chantal   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 11:33 GMT
Perdon, no vio tu correos.
Je n'ai pas vu ta réponse avant d'envoyer la mienne.
mee   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 14:17 GMT
some people believe americans pronounce "t's" as "d's". it is a misconception, but they are not completely wrong.

in fact, they produce a "spanish r" instead.

the thing is, that sound is pronounced in a very similar way to a "d", so native speakers of a different accent will unconsciously associate that sound with "d's", because it's the nearest equivalent in their dialect.

however, that's a specific type of "spanish r", the one used in the middle of the words, like in "pero" for example, which is slightly different to the double "r" in "perro".

funnily enough, the latter sound is usually perceived as an "r" by english speakers, even though they don't realise the connection with the previous sound.

english speakers usually think of "spanish r's" as modified "r's", rather than completely different sounds, so they don't actually notice that.

try and type words such as "american", "flap" or "tap", "accent", on a search engine if you feel interested on some approaches on this subject.
David Bosch   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 19:06 GMT
Yes mee, that is it. Some t's in the American English sound like a Spanish middle r, like in 'pintura'; so for Spanish it would be 'lerer' for pronouncing letter in American. However in British it would be 'lete'. (All this read with spanish accent)
Clark   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 19:20 GMT
I can tell a MAJOR difference between the Spanish "r" and the American "d." They sound very different. I have always wondered why people insist on saying that they sound the same. I wonder even more when Americans say this, because we can generally distinguish these sounds better.
Lana   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 20:52 GMT
Clark, read the message more carefully. Mee is comparing American T to Spanish R, not D to R.

I hadn't thought about it much before but it seems true to me. For example, say "letter" or "otter" and notice how the tt sounds. Now say the Spanish "para" or "era" and how the r sounds. Seems very similar to me.
.eggy   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 22:11 GMT
Spanish is a different language to English, so the "r" is pronounced different. Therefore Americans pronounce "T's" as a very soft "D's" as we are talking about the English language and not Spanish.

David Bosch   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 23:02 GMT
yes, we're not saying the two languages are alike, just that some american t's sound like spanish r's; that's it, full stop.
David Bosch   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 23:04 GMT
Besides, we're talking about t's in the middle of words, not those at the ending.
Hernan   Thursday, June 26, 2003, 23:58 GMT
Yes, thankyou. I appreciate your help very much.
David Bosch   Friday, June 27, 2003, 05:57 GMT
My pleasure, well, Our pleasure!
mee   Friday, June 27, 2003, 08:50 GMT
ok, it's a bit confusing, but i shall try.

the thing about the "t's", "d's" and "spanish r's" is a bit more complicated then it seems. i tried to be simple, but that allowed missunderstandings.

in fact americans produce many of both "t's" and "d's" as spanish "r's".

but calm down americans! let me try and explain.

what happens is the so called flapping (or tapping), which is the realisation of those sounds in the forn of "spanish r's", which happen to be simplified versions of those sounds.

the thing is, those are simply variations on the pronunciation of the original sounds, but that are still identified by their brain as being the original.

people can produce sounds in quite different ways and still percieve them as being just one, pretty much like when people with different accents pronounce the same word in different ways.

then somebody might say: "i pronounce 'ridder' and 'writter' differently!".

there are those who differentiate "t's" and "d's" but still produce flaps. basically they pronounce "d's" as voiced flaps, and "t's" as unvoiced flaps, so they assume they pronounce "d's" as "d's", and "t's" as "t's" (or "soft versions" of those), but not as spanish "'r's".

the standard spanish "r" is voiced, so for those who make the distinction, "t's" are different from spanish "r's" (when in fact they are basically the same, but with the voicing distinction), and "d's" are "d's" (when those are really spanish "r's").

and that happens even more often than one can imagine, as for example in a "t" at the end of a word followed by a vowel like in "what else", and other similar cases. but not always, as it wouldn't apply to the word "pretend", for example. however, the process is systematic, and it has its set of natural rules, that native speakers follow without noticing.
Clark   Friday, June 27, 2003, 19:12 GMT
Mee, why say "calm down Americans" ?

I think people who call themselves "mee" should calm down.
mee   Friday, June 27, 2003, 19:54 GMT
it was just an expression, clark.

it's just that sometimes some kind of new information might shock some people, and i wasn't particulary addressing to you either.

i mean if somebody tells you something different than what you were used to, sometimes you might get annoyed.

i think also i'm being too preocupied with that kind of stuff, so i try and be careful, but sometimes i don't help myself and i makes things worse...

i tried to be as relaxed as possible in that post, but it didn't really work out, sorry about that.
Clark   Friday, June 27, 2003, 20:13 GMT
No problem. It is just that a lot of these people who have come here, are not to keen on Americans. This kind of pisses me off because I can see no real reason to not like Americans as a people. American politics is a whole seperate issue.

I have done a lot of "personal reflection," and I have started to love America and Americans because they are my countrymen, and America is my country. But I still view England as my "home;" and I still see myself as an English-American.

Wow! Where did that come from??? Sorry, just got caught up in my moment of rambling.
mee   Friday, June 27, 2003, 20:55 GMT
i see what you mean, there's a lot of predjudice out there.

it's ok, it's good to relieve some stuff every now and then.