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This question isn't answered here:

That question asks about what happens when the following word begins with a consonant in general. This one is asking about the various possibilities for an intervocalic tap if a following word is an unstressed function word beginning with /t/. It's also asking whether there's any possibility for regressive assimilation here.


I read this in American accent book. I quote the text exactly how it is written in the book:

The suffix -ed is not pronounced precisely when it is linked to another consonant. For example, mailed the sounds very much like mail the in the following sentences:

  • I already mailed the letter.
  • I will mail the letter.

The suffix -ed is not heard at all when it is linked to /t/ or /d/. For example talked to sounds identical to talk to in the following sentences:

  • I talked to her yesterday.
  • I talk to her every day.

Okay but then my question is, how do Americans distinguish between these two sentences:

  • I try to call you.
  • I tried to call you.

In the first sentence the /t/ will be realised by a voiced tap because it occurs between two vowels. In the second will we get a regular [t] and then a voiced tap? Will we get a double tap or a double length tap? Or will we just get a single tap? Or maybe here we will just get two regular /t/s?

Do native speakers differentiate between "I tried to call you" and "I try to call you" from the context?

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    You can hear the difference between "tried" and "try" when those sentences are spoken with an American accent. The "d" doesn't go away completely at the end of "mailed." "Mailed the" and "mail the" might sound very much alike, but they're not identical. Jul 13 '15 at 22:36
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    "I try to call you" is not proper English (including US English) so we wouldn't be confused about that. The proper sentence would be "I will try to call you." which is very different from "I tried to call you." FWIW, when I say "I tried to call you.", there is something extra going on with my tongue between the vowel sound in "tried" and the "t" in "to". I'm afraid if you learn to say "I try to call you." for "I tried to call you.", it might sound odd. Jul 13 '15 at 22:37
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    Kristina, there are cases when "I try to call you" can be part of a grammatical sentence, e.g. "Every Monday I try to call you, and you never answer." Jul 13 '15 at 22:41
  • William Bloom- I know that. I was talking about linking. Tried‿to, the two stop consonants are linked together. Jul 13 '15 at 22:41
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    "I('d) try to call you but you wouldn('t) take any calls." Note that especially in the first case the vowel is lenthened enough that keen listeners can spot what's going on. You seem obsessed with this non-issue because you keep asking the same question over and over again. Just listen and stop worrying about written forms. I wouldna said it if I hadna meant it.
    – tchrist
    Jul 14 '15 at 1:29