In this advanced topic, study words that end in the [ns] sounds, and how Americans really pronounce them. Bonus: this applies to words with [nʃ] as well!
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over words that end in the [ns] sounds.
This video is advanced, for people who are into the subtleties of American English pronunciation. If you’re new to my channel or to studying pronunciation, don’t even watch this video, check out this playlist instead.
Every once in a while, someone will ask me about words that end in the [ns] sounds. Remember, I’m not talking about words with the LETTERS NS, most of those are [nz] words like ‘runs’ or ‘opens’. I’m talking about words with the sounds NS like ‘once’ and ‘since’ and ‘dance’. I realized we pronounce these differently when I made a mistake. I was writing the word for ‘fence’ in IPA and I wrote this: [fɛnts]
When I looked it up to double check, I was surprised to find there wasn’t a T.
As I researched more words with [ns] and discussed them with Tom, we both agreed.
Americans don’t really pronounce these words [ns], but [nts]. To make an N and an S with no T in between, you have to sort of hold out the N. And we don’t do that. So it sounds like there is a TS cluster rather than a plain S at the end. Basically, it just makes it a little shorter.
Fence [ns], fence [nts]
I have to really try hard to make an N followed by S with no T! If you can’t hear the difference between my two pronunciations, don’t worry. This is definitely an advanced topic.
Dance [ns], dance [nts]
Once [ns], once [nts]
What are some common words with [ns] that you can pronounce [nts]?
rinse, since, tense, sense, chance, science, difference, influence, dih-FENCE, DEE-fence, audience.
This does NOT apply to compound words where there is a syllable break between the sounds, like ‘inside’, or ‘instead’ – there you can go ahead and make a longer N sound.
For those of you who have been wondering about words like ‘fence’, ‘dance’, ‘once’, and ‘since’, I hope this clears up the confusion.
You thought you were hearing a T and you were.
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That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.