Sound like a Native English Speaker: Tapping

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video,
I am going to teach you a little bit about North American pronunciation. I’m going to
teach you about something called “tapping”. Okay. So, before I explain what tapping is, I want
you to listen to how I pronounce this word. I’m going to pronounce it in three ways, and
I want you to tell me: What’s the difference in each way I pronounce this? Okay? So the
first way I’m going to pronounce it: “thiry”, “thiry”. Okay? Now, the next way: “thirdy”,
“thirdy”. And finally: “thirty”, “thirty”. So what was the difference in the three
pronunciations? Between “thiry”, “thirdy”, “thirty”? If you said this,
you are correct. One of the major differences you’ll find in
different Englishes is the way we pronounce “t”. In British English, a lot of the times
you actually hear the “t”. I’m terrible with British accents, but “thirty”, “t”, okay? So you
can hear it like a “t” sound. In Englishes… Some British Englishes, and sometimes Australian
Englishes, they actually get rid of the “t”, it’s like it doesn’t even exist. So you might
hear: “thiry”. Okay? In North American English, oftentimes, we pronounce t’s like d’s. So
you would hear: “thirdy”, okay? So this is one of the main difference between many
different Englishes, how we pronounce our t’s. So what’s the rule for this? How do we know
when to pronounce our t’s like d’s? Because this is going to focus on the North American
pronunciation. Well, I have here a bunch of different words, all have the word… Or all
have the letter “t” in them. I want you to listen, and I want you to think about: Where
is “t” pronounced like a “d”? Okay? So you’re going to listen carefully, and I want you
to think about: Which words do I pronounce “t” like a “d”? Okay? So the first word: “party”, “party”. Okay?
“Party”. If you said this is like a “d”, you are correct. So we have one here.
Next word: “tiny”, “tiny”, “tiny”. No “d” sound. “Water”, “water”. There is a “d” sound here. So, again, North
American pronunciation. British people would probably say something different, like
“wa-er” or like “water”, okay? Next one: “forty”, “forty”. Okay. Yeah, we have a “d” sound, here.
“Latter”, “latter”, “latter”. Okay, you probably heard a “d” sound. Next
one: “bottle”, “bottle”, “bottle”. Probably heard a “d” sound there. The next word
that has a “t” in it: “tornado”, “tornado”. Does it have a “d” sound? I mean where the “t” is. Of
course it has this “d” sound, but: “tornado”. No, we don’t pronounce it like a “d”.
“City”, “city”. Yeah, it has a “d” sound. “Tuna”, “tuna”, no “d” sound; it
sounds like a “t”. “Bitter”, “bitter”, “d” sound. “Thanks”, “thanks”, doesn’t even have a “t” sound, actually. It has
a “th” sound, which is a little different. And finally: “tall”, “tall”. No “d” sound either. So, what do you notice about these words?
Is the “t”…? When we pronounce t’s as d’s in North American English, do we pronounce
t’s like d’s when they’re at the beginning of the word or when they’re in the middle?
You look here. So this one is a yes, it’s in the middle, it’s in the middle, middle,
middle. The beginning, no. Middle; beginning, no; middle; no; no. So we pronounce t’s like
d’s when they’re in the middle of a word. Okay? But we don’t do it all the time. When do we
do it? When do we say t’s like t’s, and when do we say t’s like d’s? That might get a little
bit confusing, but I hope you’re following. Well, it depends on stress. So, what is stress?
“Oh, I have a test tomorrow. I’m stressed.” Not that kind of stress. We’re talking about
stress in pronunciation. When we stress something in pronunciation, we mean we say it louder
and longer. So, for example: “party”, part of this I’m going to say loud and long, and
part of it short. So listen and tell me where the stress is: “party”. The stress, if you
said it’s here, you are correct. “Par” is loud “ty” is shorter. I’ll… Let’s go to
“water” next. “Water”, “water”. So where is the stress? Stress is here, okay? The first
part. “Water”. We say this part quieter. Here: “forty”, “forty”. Where is the stress?
What part’s louder and longer? If you said “for”,
you’re correct. We say that part louder and longer.
Louder and long… Louder and longer. Here we have the word “latter”, “latter”,
“latter”. Again, the first part is louder. “Bottle”, “bottle”. In this case, the first
part… Sorry. First part is louder. “City”, “city”, okay? Again, the first part is louder. And
so on, you’ll see the same thing, here: “bitter” it’s stressed. So what you’re going to notice is that when
we have a “t” in the middle of the word, not at the beginning, and when it is not stressed…
Okay? So, this is stressed, not stressed. So the “t” isn’t stressed, the “t” isn’t stressed,
the “t” isn’t stressed. When the “t” isn’t stressed, it becomes a “d”. Okay? So,
“t” equals “d” when unstressed. Okay. So let’s do some practice with this. I want
you to say these words after me, and really focus on making a “d” sound in it. Okay?
So the first word: “20”, “20”, “30”, 30″, “40”, “40”, “50”, “50”, “60”, “60”, “70”, “70”,
“80”, “80”, “90”, “90”. Okay, so now I want you to actually try maybe an Australian pronunciation.
I don’t have an Australian accent, but we’re going to imagine these do not have a “t”,
okay? We’re going to take away the “t” and “d”, and say them like Australian. All right?
So let’s try. “20”, “30”, “40”, “50”, “60”… Oh, that’s tough. “70”, “80”, “90”. Okay?
Again, my accent for Australian… I apologize if you live in Australia, and my accent is
quite off, but you get the point. And it’s the same with some sorts of British English,
you just have a missing “t”. Okay? Now let’s try this where we really pronounce the “t”.
“20”, “30”, “40”, “50”… Even for me it’s hard to keep the “t”. “50”,
“60”, “70”, “80”, “90”. Okay. So you can test it out. Depending on what kind
of accent you want… If you want a North American accent, you should… We call this
tapping, where you turn this into a “d”. If you want a British accent, pronounce your
t’s; very important. And if you want maybe an Australian accent or a
different dialect of English, get rid of the “t”, okay?
In unstressed syllables. So, thank you for watching this video. I invite
you to take our quiz on this at There, you can learn some more about tapping,
and you can practice seeing where you think stresses in syllables, and which t’s are
tapped, where they sound like a “d”. So, until next time, take care,
and I will see you soon.


My english teacher some time said that she doesn't like how Australians pronounce English, and watching this video, I understand why she doesn't really like when I speak, I've just discovered that I speak with the Australian pronunciation!

Hello Emma , thanks for the great lessons , may i ask you to insert a transcript for each video so that the beginners could benefits from your awesome videos. thanks 🙂

Hello Emma, first of all thank you for your effort. My problem at the moment is what accent should I stick to? My friends are British, I work in an US company and I watch american shows and movies. I feel I don´t have consistency with my pronounciation, I mix them up all the time. How can I pick one and stick to it?

Wow, Thanks a lot teacher!!!
I'm Brazilian and for me is very difficult, but I'm learning too much with you.
Thanks again…..

hy mrs.emma can you give me your id line for improve my english with you because my english is not so good, i am from indonesian and i am very excited for to learn english. please help me

For me this is really important because cant get this knowledge from books and she does it fabulously, really enjoying your video so and so useful thank you very much for sharing your Knowledge..!! God Luck.

hi, my name is freddy, i'm from COLOMBIA and i'm studying inglish.
That is one of my biggest problems "pronunciation".
You could do more tutorials on this. Thanks

Thks Anna, a lot, even I'm brasilian girl, and lived for few years in USA, I love to see ur english classes, to practice more my english and brush it up more!! U're a great professor!

your classes are so easy to understand. thank you. when i was in JR. High and HS I used to be teased, mocked and laughed at my accent, I have improved over the years, i do not care anymore. I have been hired to read books to elders and small kids just because of my accent. (CRAZY!!)

This is awesome. My first language is English and I’m from Ohio and I want to say that this is great, really brought light to my eyes seeing how different, obvious, yet also confusing on our pronunciations.

Nice video but technically incorrect. example: nasty, nifty, faster, mister, actor, are exceptions. If the preceding consonant or vowel is voiced, you will hear a d sound for t. If not, you will hear a t sound.

Since I found out your videos I watch them everyday . I think you're one of my prefered teachers. You are so pretty and elegant. In the truth I think I am fall in love for you kkkkkkk but do not about it because it's just a virtual romance. I'm just kidding kkkkkk I am brasilian, live in São Paulo and I am forty two years old .
One more time thank you . God bless your life .

..Hi Emma. Thank you for the nice clip.
I just didn't catch the sistem beyond TAPPING.
Do you mean that a
word will have tapping in it if there is an unsterssed sound in the middle of the word?
it doesn't WINTER, and also with numbers-
50, 60?
Why isn't it tapped too?
and what about when a T opens or closes the word? Won't it be tapped out?

You are very young but more professional. I love watching your lessons and I would like to move to Canada as soon as I can.

I live in Canada so we very much use the British written version of English, though many people speak like a American. I was from north western Ontario and we have a different way of speaking then our southern Ontario counterparts. I now live in Toronto and people have accents to me, though it seems I don't have one to them…strange.

I love how you teach us I never see a perfect teacher like you. You so nice. may God help you when you in your grave

In the word "tornado" there is tapping. The voiced alveolar plosive "d" is between two vowels in a weak syllable. Thus, that sound suffers from tapping. Also, the sound that it's produced when tapping is the sound /ɾ/. It's a variation of the /r/ sound and it can be found in Spanish as well.

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