How is it possible that different words such as ‘rider’ and ‘writer’ sound absolutely the same in American English?*
After all, the consonants in the words are very different: T and D.
But here’s the thing –
When speaking with an American accent T’s and D’s that appear between two vowels (in unstressed syllables) are pronounced as light ‘flaps’, which means that the tongue barely touches the upper palate.
And although these are two different consonants, they sound exactly the same.
In fact, it touches so lightly that it sounds more like an /r/ in Spanish (as in the word ‘pero’) than a T or D. They’re called flap t/flap d.
Watch the video to learn more about how to pronounce the flap T/D:
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Here are more word pairs that sound EXACTLY the same:
At it – add it
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* Many native speakers pronounce the vowel before the D consonant a little longer, so some may claim that there IS a difference between both words. However, the way I see (and hear) it, the distinction is so subtle for non-native speakers (and even for native speakers) that I deliberately don’t address it in my explanation as it adds more confusion. We will treat both words as if they’re pronounced the same.