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Native speaker here. I don't have a problem with /d/, but somehow in words like "record", and in all -ed preterites, I voice it /t/, borderline aspirated. My English is native (think, dream in English, etc) but I grew up among a bunch of different accents, so I'd like to know where I got that from.

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    Are you sure "record" is a good example? You say "recort"?
    – Lambie
    Feb 21, 2022 at 14:26
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    Voicing is independently innervated and uses independent muscles from mouth sounds, so, yes, it frequently stops before the phonation does at the end of a word. Entirely a matter of individual habit, which may (like any individual habit) become a feature of a speech group's lect. Feb 21, 2022 at 15:41
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    About preterites in English: there are two final sounds for regular verbs (i.e. that end in ed): He walked or talked is a /t/. They fined us. or They mined a seam there. is /d/. All that is pretty standard. However, putting a /t/ on record (the verb to record or a police record) is not usual at all.
    – Lambie
    Feb 21, 2022 at 18:13
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    You're going to have to record it and put it in Praat to see if it really is unvoiced. It's possible also that you are interpreting an unreleased stop as unvoiced.
    – siride
    Feb 21, 2022 at 19:44
  • Thank you John Lawler, I hadn't considered it might be entirely idiosyncratic.
    – peisander
    Feb 24, 2022 at 2:45

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I assume what you're picking up on is final-obstruent devoicing. The "voiced" plosives aren't typically actually voiced unless surrounded by voiced sounds. When you say bed and pet in isolation, the consonants themselves are all (wholly or partially) voiceless. Onset /p/ is distinguished from /b/ by the period of aspiration following the burst, and coda /t/ is distinguished from /d/ by the shortening of the preceding vowel (pre-fortis clipping). Thus some refer to the "voiceless" phonemes like /p, t, k/ and the "voiced" ones like /b, d, ɡ/ as "fortis" and "lenis" consonants, respectively, to avoid the rather misleading labels.

Ladefoged's Vowels and Consonants has a fun demonstration of the effects of (final-obstruent devoicing and) pre-forits clipping here. Just by shortening the duration of the vowel, bad turns into bat in perception.

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  • Thank you Nardog, I'll read those links when I have a little time.
    – peisander
    Feb 24, 2022 at 15:37

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