Flap t is not a ''d'' but a ''t''.

Rho   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 01:07 GMT
Britons always say that Americans pronounce ''water'' as ''wah-der'' with a ''d''. Don't you think that the ''t'' in ''water'' in American speech is not a true ''d'' but what is more accurately called a flap ''t''. Americans pronounce ''water'' as ''wah-ter'' not ''wah-der''.
Ben   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 14:21 GMT
Americans more or less pronounce "t" the same as the tapped "r" in Spanish and Italian. This sound is very similar to an English "d," and was used as the "r" in British RP up until the beginning of the twentieth century.

However, this is actually not an American feature of English, as much as it tends to be a common feature of English spoken outside of England. Australians, New Zealander, South African, many Canadians, and many Irish dialects all pronounce their t's this way.
Ryan   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 14:48 GMT
When I pronounce "madder" and "matter," I can barely tell the difference, but the "flap t" is there in "matter" so it is a completely different sound.
mjd   Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 18:00 GMT
There would be a difference in the "a" sound for me as well.
Ryan   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 02:17 GMT
Oh, do you speak with one of those American accents that has a "split ae" system, mjd? In Michigan, everything is pronounced with the same tensed "ae" sound that makes a name like "Ann" sound like "Ian" to outsiders.
Jim   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 06:24 GMT
I'd agree with mjd the "a" in "madder" seems longer than the one in "matter" when I say it.

The flap "t" is /t/ phonemically speaking.

Aussies cop the same thing about our /ei/ which sounds like an RP/GenAm /ai/ but it doesn't sound anything like an /ai/ to us (it's quite distinct from our /ai/).

The Aussie /ei/ is not an /ai/ just like the flap "t" is not a /d/.
mjd   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 07:53 GMT
My "a" in "matter" is a bit flatter than it is in "madder." My "a" in "mad" rhymes with "plaid" or "fad" etc. My "a" in "matter" rhymes with "hat" or "mat."
Ryan   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 23:26 GMT
"The Aussie /ei/ is not an /ai/ just like the flap "t" is not a /d/."

Just like no Canadian actually says "aboot" instead of "about."
Jeff   Friday, May 28, 2004, 05:40 GMT
i don't know where are you from,
but the a in madder and matter is the same sound,
and the t sound is pronounce the same by a lot of people too,
maybe everything is inside your mind,

My "a" in "mad" rhymes with "plaid" or "fad" etc. My "a" in "matter" rhymes with "hat" or "mat."

so you 're telling me that hat, mat ,mad and paid don't have the same a sound?
Ryan   Friday, May 28, 2004, 07:30 GMT
On the East Coast, there is a "split system" where words like "bad" have a fronted /ae/ sound and words like "bat" have a normal /ae/ sound.

The tense /ae/ sound is familiar to most Americans in words before nasals, such as "pants." The vowel in "pants" and "bag" are different to most Americans, even though they are often both characterized as /ae/.

So to people on the East Coast, a word like "madder" will have a vowel sound like the one in the word "pants," while in a word like "matter," it will have one more like in the word "bag."

If you are from the Great Lakes states like I am, though, all the vowels /ae/ vowels are fronted, with the /ae/ sound before nasals fronted so much so that, as I said before, a name like "Ann" sounds like "Ian."

The only places where "bag" is tensed to a vowel like the one in "pants" in the United States is in Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where "bag" starts to sound like "bayg."

I'm not making this stuff up. A linguist by the name of William Labov at the University of Pennsylvania studies all this stuff.

mjd   Friday, May 28, 2004, 07:54 GMT

You said: "What? so you 're telling me that hat, mat ,mad and paid don't have the same a sound?"

Yes, that is exactly what I'm telling you. Where I live (New Jersey) the "A" sound is different in the two words.
mjd   Friday, May 28, 2004, 07:55 GMT
...and I said "plaid" NOT "paid" (different pronunciations!!)
Doorbell   Friday, May 28, 2004, 15:54 GMT
When I say the words ''mat'' and ''man'', It seems like the ''a'' sound in ''man'' is a bit different to the ''a'' sound in ''mat''.
kjell   Friday, May 28, 2004, 16:39 GMT
It would be nice to have your opinions from America of the accent of the south area of the Usa? To me it sounds very funny and not easy to understand that accent of English
Ryan   Friday, May 28, 2004, 16:45 GMT
Studies of Southern US accents show that there are different "degrees" of southernness in speech. Eastern Virginia has a reputation for the most "proper" form of Southern English. People who live in the Appalachian Mountains have a very strong accent you can hear if you get Jerry Springer on television in your country (Jerry doesn't speak with the accent, his guests do). If you ever come to the United States, watch a NASCAR race and you'll hear the South Carolina and Georgia accents quite a bit. People in the Deep South get mad if you confuse a Texas accent with their accents, as supposedly they have a completely different sound. Of course, Texans tell me that there are at least 5 different accents in their state alone.