What is the usual place of articulation of a final /t/ or /d/ after /r/? I am actually only interested in isolated environments when a word like "weird" falls at the end of an utterance (not followed by any other sound) as in the following sentence: That's weird.

In my mind, a sensible pronunciation would be [wiɻd] (or [wiɻʔd~wiɻʔ]) but trying to move the tongue back to the alveolar position after pronouncing the retroflex [ɻ], as I have noticed, requires significant effort (though it is certainly possible; I can do it), and less strenuous would be to replace the alveolar [d] with the retroflex tap [ɽ]. So I really want to know if this is what native American English speakers actually do? What is actually going on there? Or maybe I should keep practicing and practicing until it hopefully becomes easier?

  • Why would you have to practice? Are you a native speaker of another language? If so, it might be relevant which one: I think “retroflex” sounds are actually a bit different between languages.
    – herisson
    Mar 2, 2018 at 17:56
  • @sumelic My native language is Polish. I think my difficulty in this case stems from the fact that I learned to make the English /r/ as retroflex and not alveolar. I curl back the tip of my tongue very much to make this sound. That's why it requires effort for me to move it back to the alveolar /d/.
    – JulSe
    Mar 2, 2018 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


I can't speak for all American English speakers, though I am one, but I don't feel any effect of the r on the following d. That is, the d in "card" is like the d in "cod". I can change the d in "cod" to a retroflex, and it sounds a little like "card", but that is not the way I would ever say that English word.

I don't find it difficult to say "card" with a plain alveolar d, because my r is executed by cupping the blade of the tongue (right behind the tip) downward, which doesn't necessarily have any influence on where the tip of the tongue touches the top of the mouth.

  • Your second paragraph was very insightful, thank you :) I think I might have this problem because I curl back my tongue (the tip of it) very much to make the R.
    – JulSe
    Mar 2, 2018 at 18:04

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