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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: The final future of t
Author: Michael Bulley
Institution: United Arab Emirates University
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Abstract: Will the final t become totally bottled up? It was about 15 years ago, I suppose, that I was told by an 18-year-old student that you shouldn't pronounce the final t in words like went. She meant in no circumstances. So struck was I by this that I reflected on my own practice, as a British English speaker, with such words. I decided that, in general, I released a final t before a following vowel, before a pause and before ‘soft’ consonants like h or w, but might sometimes keep it in before a ‘strong’ consonant, like m or b. So, I would say ‘I went away’, ‘What?’ and ‘That hospital’, but, pre-consonantal, either ‘He sent bottled water’ or ‘He sen’ bottled water’. You would, of course, refer also to words spelled with te at the end, like mate, as being pronounced with a final t.
Since that time, and particularly in recent years, I have noticed an increase in the non-released version of final t, pre-vowel or pre-pause, from BrE speakers in contexts where before I would not have expected it, as, for example, from BBC newsreaders.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 25, Issue 2.

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