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I need to go to the bathroom.

Can the letters in bold in the example above be pronounced as flap t/d sounds in American English, just like in better, ladder, party, and city?

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    I needa go tuhthe bathroom. - That's how I pronounce it, especially when.
    – Mazura
    Oct 2, 2015 at 3:37

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There are substantial differences from speaker to speaker in what can flap. In my speech, there is no flap in "need to", but there may be a flap in "go to" provided that the vowel of "to" has no stress and is reduced to schwa.

T and d flap when intervocalic and at the end of a syllable. For "go to", one would ordinarily not expect a flap, because although it is intervocalic, the t is at the beginning of a syllable. My idea about this type of apparent exception is that when the vowel of "to" loses stress and is reduced, it pushes the t into the preceding syllable, and the t thus comes into a position where it is subject to the flapping process.

Something similar to the above happens when the first syllable of "today" or "tomorrow" loses all stress and the vowel reduces. This also enables flapping of the t in a sentence like "I'll go tomorrow" (in my own speech -- this is unlikely to be general in American English).

In "need to", for me, there is no special reduction process applicable, and both d and t remain. Since neither is intervocalic, no flapping is expected, and there is none. No problem.

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