3

Look at this video at 1:09 (Source). The man said "carrots too" /ˈkærəts tuː/ but it sounds like he said /ˈkærət suː/. The /t/ got omitted completely.

However, I don't see people omit /t/ in "stamp" /stæmp/ (Source)

I have another example. The /t/ after /s/ got eliminated completely. See this video at 3:25 (Source): "...wasn't the best idea" "/..best aɪˈdɪə/" became "/..besaɪˈdɪə/".

So, when we see /st/,

  1. can can omit the /t/? or

  2. do we have any rule as to when we should omit /t/ from /st/ and when we should not?

4
  • 2
    He distinctly says "carrots too". The t is definitely there.
    – ralph.m
    Dec 14, 2015 at 2:43
  • 2
    The guy simply didn't enunciate very well. Everyone trips over their tongue every now and then. Likely if he did the take again he'd pronounce it differently.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 14, 2015 at 2:45
  • 3
    So, when we see /st/, we can omit the /t/? or do we have any rule of when we should omit /t/ of /st/ & when we should not? I don't think there are any rules which "allow" such an omission, since all of the consonants are there to be articulated and pronounced.
    – Cargill
    Dec 14, 2015 at 3:05
  • 2
    @Cargill But there are plenty of similar rules for consonant cluster reduction.
    – user28567
    Dec 14, 2015 at 3:09

1 Answer 1

4

The short answer to your titular question is no, wrong.

As for your first source video, I hear a space between the definitely pronounced /s/ on the end of carrots and the beginning of the next word, so as far as I can tell the speaker doesn't say /ˈkærət suː/. Listen again and see if you can't hear him say something more like /ˈkærəts tsuː/. This is closer to how I seem to hear it. In any case, I think he does say the /t/.

If /ˈkærəts tsuː/ is what he says, it's more likely a momentary failure to enunciate properly, perhaps influenced by the cluster of sounds involved. Maybe the t on the front of too comes out as /ts/ accidentally, because of the /ts/ on the end of carrots. (There is also, perhaps, the possibility that an individual tendency, a peer-group tendency, or an artifact of the recording is at play, or, to put it another way, it probably can't be completely ruled out on the basis of this lone video.)

As for your second source video, the /t/ is pronounced there too. You just have to listen better.

There is certainly no pronunciation rule that allows the /t/ to be dropped in circumstances like this. Generally both the /s/ and the /t/ must be pronounced where st is present.

Note, however, that there are a number of words that do not have the t pronounced after the s where they end in stle, e.g. castle, whistle, and hustle. This could perhaps be considered a rule of thumb. However, even this isn't an absolute rule for all similar words. Pestle, a word with the same last four letters, is an example of a word that is pronounced with the /t/ by some, and without by others.

And this dropping of the /t/ between s and l does not work between two words (even if those words are pushed together to make a contraction). So pronounce the t at the end of cast in The cast'll be coming out to take a bow, and at the end of past in Looking at the past lets us more easily predict the future.

This answer doesn't take into account all varieties of English, but it does apply quite generally, and it accords with the English spoken by the speakers in both videos.

13
  • Hmm, I practiced your last two examples, and I think I do drop the t, or at least reduce it to something barely audible. (Native US speaker.) Dec 14, 2015 at 6:17
  • @NateEldredge: I certainly wouldn't contend that a certain amount of allophony can't occur, but I wouldn't think the t is commonly dropped completely here, and certainly not in compliance with a rule. In this respect, I'd say "barely audible" and "non-existent" are leagues apart. I can see laziness or speed possibly getting you all the way there in the second sentence, but much less likely so in the first. Otherwise I'd tend to chalk it up to individual speech habits. Of course I haven't done a survey, but I wouldn't recommend a learner drop the t in either instance. ;-)
    – RJH
    Dec 14, 2015 at 6:45
  • It should be noted that there's essentially no difference between "carrots too" and "carrot stew".
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 14, 2015 at 15:29
  • @HotLicks: You have me walking around mumbling "carrots too" and "carrot stew" to myself over and over. Someone's going to think I'm a wabbit.
    – RJH
    Dec 14, 2015 at 18:32
  • 1
    And subtle differences in the amount and timing of aspiration also explain why "carrots too" actually does sound different from "carrot stew", though I get where @HotLicks is coming from. ;-)
    – RJH
    Dec 17, 2015 at 16:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.