Where and what is (t, d)?

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The variable deletion of /t,d/ in word-final clusters in English has garnered much attention from sociolinguists and, more recently, phonologists, most of whom model it as a binary variable phonological rule. This paper examines in detail some (t,d) clusters in York English and compares them with other word-final singleton and cluster consonants. In the light of the general literature on English, it explores an alternative view, that in at least one variety of British English “-t,d deletion” is in fact one of the common connected speech processes which apply at the boundaries between words. It thus underlines the importance for advances in sociophonetics of taking a step back to examine critically the basic units of analysis of variable rules.


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