Pronunciation Reduction That
This is the car that her father bought.
One of the reductions that English learners have difficulty with is the reduction of that. They have issues hearing and understanding native English speakers, while they also have problems pronouncing the reduction of that. There are two main ways to pronounce that in a sentence.
As with most, but not all function words, that is not stressed in a sentence. Since it is a function word it is important to learn how to reduce the sound.
That With A Stop T
The first way to pronounce that is when there is a consonant sound in the word following that. Make the voiced TH sound, a relaxed schwa sound, and then followed by cutting off the air flow for the end t sound. Pronouncing the stop t at the end is where most English learners have difficulty. Here are a few examples:
- That Jack won.
- That Bobby took.
- That my brother ate.
- That we found.
That Flowing End
The second way to pronounce that is when there is an AI diphthong sound in the word following that. The pronunciation is similar to the first one, except at the end. Make the voiced TH sound, a relaxed schwa sound, and then followed by letting the air flow for the end t sound. The end t sound is a bit like a d sound. Here are a few examples:
- Thad ice cube.
- Thad I love.
- Thad idea.
- Thad eye.
That Exception Stressed
Since that is a function word, it is not common to give stress to it in a sentence. To pronounce that with stress, similar to a content word, produce a long a sound. Also, keep in mind that is a content word when it switches from a pronoun to an adjective or adverb, but not as a conjunction. Here are a few examples with the stressed that:
- Is that your dog? No, thaat is not my dog. (Stressed to highlight)
- I was thaat tired. (Adverb)
- This is yours and thaat is mine. (Adjective)
- Thaat car is red. (Adjective)
In the last example there may or may not be stress on that. It is up to the speaker to decide.
Here are a few more examples of using that in sentences:
- Not thad I know of. (Flow)
- Not that we know of. (Stop)
- I am sure that she cares. (Stop)
- Is that your car? (Stop)
- He loves thad idea. (Flow)
- Which one did she buy? She bought thaat one. (Adjective and Stress)
Note that in this lesson there were some uses of that as content words that were pronounced as function words. As stated in other lessons, word stress can also be a preference of the person speaking.