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According to Wiktionary the word "second" can be pronounced one of two ways in the US: /ˈsɛk.(ə)nd/ and /ˈsɛk.(ə)nt/

I've googled to try to find anything about the difference between these pronunciations, be it morphophonemic or simply a regional variation. However my search was to no avail as "second" is a common word, often with results of alternative/second pronunciations of other words popping up.

Can anyone enlighten me on why there is a difference in pronunciation of this word?

For reference, I'm from the US South and I say it with a final "t."

  • Someone brought it up on the talk page of that entry, but a citation doesn't seem to have been found: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Talk:second#/%CB%88s%C9%9Bk%C9%99nd/… It certainly seems to vary by region. I don't think of this word as ending in /t/, although that pronunciation doesn't sound impossible to me. What would you think of the word hundred? I feel like some people may have /t/ at the end of here (e.g. "hundret"). – sumelic Apr 18 at 23:58
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    In an Australian context, pronouncing "second" with a final "t" is associated with non-native speakers. A number of seemingly-NNS patterns have been traced to teaching from old sources, as opposed to being a deviation from the 'norm'. I wonder whether the final "t" pronunciation predates the final "d" variant. – Lawrence Apr 19 at 2:12
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    But if I get the drift of it all, you could hear the same person, in the same conversation, pronounce it the two different ways, 15 seconds apart, depending on the "flow" of the sentence. – Hot Licks May 6 at 12:31
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    Many dialects and sociolects of English, world-wide, routinely devoice final voiced stops, especially in words that are common in constructions and fixed phrases, where the edges get worn down faster. And many individuals frequently do it, whatever their native dialect. It's a natural phonetic phenomenon and happens all the time. This is why prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliaries, articles, and other nuts-and-bolts words are usually very short. – John Lawler Jun 5 at 13:25
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    BTW, the general name for the phenomenon is "terminal devoicing". The mnemonic is "terminal devoicink". – John Lawler Jun 5 at 13:28

protected by Mitch Jul 11 at 21:10

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