It seems to me that the "d" is flapped in "I don't know" in American English. Am I right? If I am, I'm wondering if t/d is always flapped at the begining of the word when it is preceded by a vowel? For instance in "I did it"?

  • 2
    Can you include some background effort of research? – Kris Apr 15 '15 at 11:41
  • I'm pretty sure it's not. If it were, then there'd be hardly anything left of 't' or 'd' at all in English. I think it is undeniable that word initial 't' is very distinct (with its aspiration) in every variety. 'd' maybe in some varieties (but only because you say that you do it) – Mitch May 19 '15 at 18:37

Yes, that d flaps in my casual speech. I think what happens is that the following vowel loses its stress and this shifts the d into the preceding syllable, making it subject to the flapping process. If that's right, an initial t in a word whose first syllable is unstressed should also flap. We can test that with "I'll go tomorrow/today". Those t's flap, for me. But here's one that doesn't: "He's so tyrannical!" (perhaps because I wouldn't use that word in informal speech).

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