The Flap-T can be tricky…but it’s critical to the American accent! How’s your Flap-T? Get into this video right now and let’s do some work on it!
The word ‘city’ does not have a tt, a true T sound. It’s a flap T, listen.
This is the flap T. The flap it is one of the main differences between American English and British English and I think it’s one of the defining features of the American English accent. It’s all about smoothness. And when you learn it, your American accent is going to sound more natural. It will sound like you’re speaking with ease and connection.
A true T, tt, is a stop of air and a release. A flap T, par-ty [flap], it’s a flap of the tongue with no stop of air, no release. Just [flap] a bounce on the roof of your mouth with the tongue. [flap] Par-ty [flap].
Let’s look at some words up close and in slow motion to further understand this T sound.
The word ‘water’ is one of the words that really sounds different in American English versus British English and it’s due in part to the flap T. Americans will make that a flap T 99% of the time and Brits don’t.
Big herbivores can be surly and they can be territorial. You do not want to mess with a hippo or a rhino or a water buffalo, in California we don’t have a water problem as much as we have an agriculture problem and the key processing step only requires soap and water.
And then he could access to water from the tank of the soil through living pumps of vegetation.
It quiets my mind, I don’t perceive what I’m drawing as ice or water.
You immerse yourself in the water and a physical action backs up a philosophical idea.
In countries where more people now have access to cell phones than to clean running water.
Let’s take 5 minutes to enjoy a slow look at this painting of a cup of water and a rose.
Now, in this tub I have something called Oobleck which is a mixture of cornstarch and also of water.
These could drive as far as you wanted provided you also wanted to lug around extra water to refuel.
If you’re not sure if you’re making this sound correctly, practice holding out the sound before and the sound after. Waaa—terrr, water. That can really help you focus in on that flap. Make sure it’s quick and easy in the forward part of the mouth. Water.
When should you make a T a flap T?
The rule is between two vowels or diphthongs like in the word ‘city’. This applies to linking words in a sentence too like in the phrase ‘a lot of’, a lot of. The T is at the end of the word but it links into a word that begins with a vowel ‘of’ so it’s flapped. A lot of. A lot of [flap], a lot of. Also, make a T a flap T if the sound before is an R and the sound after is a vowel or diphthong like in the word ‘party’. Par-ty. Party. Not party. Not a true T but party, a flap.
One exception. If a T starts a stressed syllable, make it a true T like in the word ‘attain’. The T comes between a vowel and a diphthong but it starts a stress syllable so it’s a true T. Attain, tt, with that crispness. Let’s look at some more words and sentences up close and in slow motion with this flap T so you can really study it and see the flap of the tongue.
A lot of my students find the flap T to be tricky when it’s followed by schwa R like in better or schwa L like in bottle. For all of my YouTube channel members, there will be two extra videos that you can access that have up close and slow motion training for lists of these kinds of words.
If you want to join my YouTube channel membership to support this channel, please press the join button. Let’s look at some more words up close and in slow motion so you can really study this and see that flap of the tongue.
Does it matter?
What if I can’t make it?
I’ll just have water.
It’s better this way.
Ask the waiter for more butter.
I got it.
The reporter prefers lighthearted news stories.
What is it?
I saw it at another store.
It always rains there.
What other words can you think of with the flap T. Put them in the comments below. It’s an incredibly common sound and we use it to smooth out speech and connect words. If you’re interested in training this sound into your own American accent so that it becomes a habit, it becomes effortless. Sign up for my Academy. The training you will do there and the teacher feedback you will get will help you speak English smoothly and to be really easily understood. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below. I love being your English teacher. Please subscribe with notifications on so you never miss a video. Keep your learning going now with this video. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.