Assimilation occurs when a sound changes to a different sound because of the sounds before and after it. The /t/ regularly changes to a glottal stop, the quick closing and opening of the vocal cords. (It is the sound in the middle of the expression "uh-oh.")


There is a wide range is circumstances in which the glottal stop occirs in American English pronunciation, including:

When /t/ at the end of a word follows:

  • vowel sound
  • nasal sound /m, n, ŋ/
  • liquid sound

and the next word begins with

  • fricative /ð, θ, z, s, v, f, ʒ, ʃ, h/
  • blocked consonant /b, p, d, t, g, k, ʤ, ʧ/

Practice pronouncing the linked /t/ as /ʔ/ (a glottal stop):

1. ancient‿cultures: We studied ancient‿cultures for the first semester.

2. chocolate‿chip: There are fresh chocolate‿chip cookies on the counter!

3. don't‿see: I don't‿see the problem.

4. quite‿different: He's quite‿different from his brother.

5. want‿some: Do you want‿some tea?