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Rather than pronouncing stop sounds completely at the ends of words, we often change them slightly by doing what we call “marking” them. Essentially, this means that we save a space for where the sound should go, without actually pronouncing it completely. By doing so, we create a slight pause, which gives us a way to transition to the next word smoothly.
Let’s take a look at how we “mark” a stop sound
How to mark a stop voiced sound (g, d, b)
Briefly prolong the vowel that comes just before the sound.
With your voice still on, place your lips and tongue in the correct place to form the sound.
Maintain the position for the sound and then hold your breath for an instant. This creates a short pause in your speech by stopping your breath and voice.
Pronounce the sound that comes after the marked sound
Practice marking the final voiced stop sounds in the following phrases. /d/ /g/ /b/ did not dog goes crab please bad dog rug came grab pieces red three big gate Bob played
How to mark an unvoiced stop sound (t, k, p)
Do not prolong the vowel that comes just before the sound.
Very briefly close your vocal cords as you place your lips and tongue in the correct place to form the sound. This creates a short pause in your speech. Notice here that you are turning your voice off just before you complete the position of the sound.
Pronounce the sound that comes after the marked sound.
Practice marking the final unvoiced stop sounds in the following phrases. /t/ /k/ /p/ hot dog kick can cup broke not now back gammon rip magazines don’t know pick gum lip balm
We usually mark a final stop sound of a word if the first sound of the next word is made in the same place in the mouth, or if it made in the same way.
When both consonants are made with the lips, such as /p/ and /b/, we can say:
Example: cup broke: The final /p/ in “cup” is marked and the initial /b/ in “broke” is pronounced. Example: cub paw: Here the final /b/ in cub is marked, and the initial /p/ in paw is pronounced.
when both consonants are made with the tongue tip, such as /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/, we can say:
Example: hot dog: the final /t/ in “hot” is marked, and the initial /d/ in dog is pronounced Example: did not: Here we mark the final /d/ in “did” and pronounce the initial /n/ in “not”
when both consonants are made with the back of the tongue, we can say:
Example: back gammon: We mark the final /k/ in “back” and pronounce the initial /g/ in “gammon”. Example: leg kick: Here we mark the final /g/ in “leg” and pronounce the initial /k/ in “kick”.
If the final stop sound of the first word and the initial consonant of the second word are made in different parts of the mouth, we may still choose to mark the stop sound, although you will hear many instances where both stop sounds are pronounced completely.
For the following phrases, try pronouncing the final stop sound in the first word completely the first time and then try marking it the second time.
In this first example, the final stop sound of the first word in each phrase is made with the lips and the next sound is made in the back of the mouth
Example: pop got Example: Bob came
In this second example, the final stop sound of the first word in each phrase is made with the tongue tip and the next sound is made in a different part of the mouth.