Pronunciation

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Tim's Pronunciation Workshop: The gemination of /t/

Episode 68 / 17 Jul 2017

Tim
Hi. I'm Tim and this is my Pronunciation workshop. Here I'm going to show you how English is really spoken. Come on, let's go inside. This week, I’m going to need some help from my favourite twin. Please welcome back Tom, who’s going to help me present. Hi Tom!

Tom
Hi Tim! Now, are you a lover?

Tim
Or a fighter? Do you prefer to dance?

Tom
Or would you rather have an argument?

Tim
There’s an expression we have in English that contains the name of a dance …

Tom
… and means when two people get involved in a fight or argument, then in most cases both have to take some of the responsibility. Do you know the expression?

Tim
Well, let’s ask the people of London.

Voxpops
It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tango.

Tim and Tom
It takes two to tango.

Tom
Lot of ‘t’s in that, Tim.

Tim
Lot of ‘t’s indeed, Tom. Five in fact. It takes two to Tango. But are all of these usually pronounced? Can you hear all of them? Listen again.

Voxpops
It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tango.

Tim 
You might remember from a previous video that when the sound /t/ comes in between two consonants, we don’t usually pronounce it.

Tom
But what happens if there is a vowel sound before the /t/? and the next word also begins with /t/?

Tim
Well, in this case the two /t/ sounds join together to create one slightly stronger /t/. So ‘it takes two’ becomes 'it takes two'. This is an example of twinning or gemination. Here are some more examples.

Examples
It took him twenty years to get to the top.
You don’t have to cheat to pass the test.
You were right to be upset.
We took the overnight train to Venice.

Tim
Right, so you’ve heard the examples, and now it’s your turn. You know the drill. Listen and repeat.

Examples
It took him twenty years to get to the top.
You don’t have to cheat to pass the test.
You were right to be upset.
We took the overnight train to Venice.

Tim
Well done. Now remember, if you want to learn more about pronunciation, then please visit our website, bbclearningenglish.com. And that is about it from the pronunciation workshop for this week. We'll see you soon. Bye bye! Ah, thank you for all your hard work, Tom.

Tom
Ah. No problem, you’re the best Tim.

Tim
Hey, thanks, you’re great too. Ah! That was weird! What was that all about?

Tom
Hey, you started it.

Tim
No I didn’t.

Tom
Yes you did.

Tim
Well, maybe a little bit. I guess that just goes to prove it takes two to tango.

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