Smoothly link from a word ending in /d/ into a word beginning with an /n/ by using a technique called nasal aspiration. This allows the two sounds to merge. The phonetic symbol for nasal aspiration is [d̚ n].
To learn the nasal aspiration, the function of the velum must be understood. The velum is the flap in the back of the mouth that either allows air to pass through the nose or blocks it. The velum is closed (blocking air) for all of the sounds of English except the three nasal consonants (the /n/, /m/, and /ŋ/).
A nasal aspiration begins with the velum closed during the approach of the /d/, and then opens at the same time as the air is stopped for the /d/. With the velum open, the tongue can stay in place for the /n/. The only change in the vocal tract is the velum opening. The tongue stays in the exact position of the stopped /d/ as when producing the /n/.
Practice linking /d+n/ using nasal aspiration:
1. did‿nothing: The boy did‿nothing.
2. heard‿noises: We heard‿noises coming from outside.
3. decided‿not: We decided‿not to go.
4. good‿night: Have a good‿night.
5. third‿national: It was their third‿national conference.