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I am referring to American English here, but this could also be applied to British English for all I know.

Is the "d" really just an alveolar "d" in words like:

  • "hi(d)e my"

and

  • "broa(d)cast"

When I try to pronounce these words like I would with the tongue position of "d" in "dog", a small plosive kind of sound occurs (of my tongue separating from the roof of my mouth) before moving to the next consonant, and it's noticable. But when I hear Americans say these words, there's no such sound after the "d".

I don't know if this makes sense or not but:

  • haɪd̚‿x‿maɪ

  • bɹɑd̚‿x‿kʰæst̚

The x refers to that sound of tongue leaving the roof. Try it yourself: put the tip of your tongue on the alveolar ridge and pull it downward, it's sort of like a click sound.

How do I avoid this sound?

A friend even told me that his "d" in "broadcast" is made with the tongue position for "k", so a bit like "broggcast".

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    /d/ is often pronounced as a flap in American English, which would avoid a click. Before /k/, the /d/ might be unreleased, or maybe with simultaneous velar and alveolar articulation, or even unreleased velar articulation. You'll have to listen to specific examples.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 8, 2021 at 9:19
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    Get a copy of Catford's Practical Introduction to Phonetics; it's full of little experiments you can do in your own natural phonetics lab. Jun 8, 2021 at 14:01
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    @JohnLawler dumb question but what's a natural phonetics lab?
    – user424161
    Jun 8, 2021 at 14:02
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    @Richard Dumb answer: the one in your mouth. We all come equipped to teach ourselves phonetics, if we get some idea what's going on, and Catford's book will show the reader how (like hearing what a voiceless vowel sounds like, while feeling, from the inside, how it's made). It's a unique book, made for autodidacts who want to study language. As linguists have learned, it's impossible to study language properly without phonetics. Jun 8, 2021 at 14:42
  • @PeterShor Hmmm. But in English we only have aspiration after fortis (read 'unvoiced') plosives. Not voiced ones! Jun 8, 2021 at 20:20

2 Answers 2

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I don't hear the effect you are describing in 'hide my'.

However, 'broagcast' is a common type of assimilation /d/ → /g/. It happens because /k/ is the next sound that follows.

Another time this happens is in 'good girl', which sounds like 'gug girl' /gʊg gɜːl/. Notice that the /d/ changed into a /g/.

There's a good demonstration of this type of assimilation in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDDV01W20bo

In my London accent, I actually pronounce a glottal stop in this position (non-standard). This makes it have a 'swallowed' sound. /gʊʔ gɜːl/ (glottal stop in place of /d/).

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In comments, @Araucaria - Not here any more responded with:

There are several issues here. One is that the feature of the [d] that you cannot hear in these examples is called plosion. This is the effect you get when the articulators cause a blockage in the vocal tract, causing a build-up of high-pressure compressed air, and then suddenly come apart. With a /d/ you get plosion as the tongue comes away from the alveolar ridge (that little shelf behind your top teeth).

There are two possible reasons why you can't hear any plosion here. One is that when /d/ occurs before an /m/, the lips will likely close to make the [m], before the tongue comes away from the alveolar ridge for the release of the [d]. When the tongue does come away from the alveolar ridge the result is inaudible to a listener because it is masked by the lips being closed. The released air will escape through the nose instead of the mouth.

When we have a /d/ before a /g/, there will be a second closure for the [g] further back in the mouth at the velum before the [d]. This will reduce the air pressure behind the [d] and also reduce the volume of air that's released when the tongue leaves the alveolar ridge. Although it will be much quieter than the release of a regular [d], it may still be audible to a listener.

However, more likely than this, in both cases, is that there will be 'dealveolar assimilation'. The consonants made on the alveolar ridge are very unstable, especially [t, d, n]. They tend to change their place of articulation to match that of the following consonant. So a /t/ before a bilabial like /m/ will often become a /p/, a [d] will most often become a /b/ and [n] will become [m]. Behind a velar consonant [k] (as in broadcas these will become [k, g, ŋ] respectively. So what you're hearing is actually hibe my /haɪb mai/ and broagcast /brɔːgkɑ:st/. You can't hear any plosion in those realizations because the air behind the [b] is released nasally, and the air behind the [g] is not released but rather continues to be blocked behind the same alveolar closure which is used for the [k]. The vocal fold (vocal cord) vibration simply turns off during the same closure which is retained for the duration of the [g] and [k] segments. You can't hear any release, and thus any plosion, simply because there isn't any!

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  • Interesting. In all of the examples, I think I use a stop. Nothing gets changed, but there is no air to release. I am positive it's /brɔːʔkɑ:st/
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 12, 2021 at 17:26

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