Compare t/d to ch/j
t sound/d sound, ch sound/j sound
Stops and affricates, voiced and unvoiced
The t sound, d sound, ch sound, and j sound are discontinuous consonants, meaning that all four sounds begin by fully blocking air from leaving the vocal tract. The sounds are alike in that the tip of the tongue is used for stopping the air, but quite different in the nature of the release of the air (called aspiration).
The t sound and d sound are stops, meaning that the release of the air is quick and smooth. The ch sound and j sound are affricates; when the air is released, the tongue remains close to the tooth ridge. This causes turbulence and friction which distinguishes these sounds from stop sounds. (The friction created during the release of the ch sound is very similar to an sh sound while the release of the j sound creates a sound very similar to a zh sound.)
Although the t sound is a stop and the ch sound is an affricate, these sounds are alike in that they are both unvoiced sounds; the vocal cords do not vibrate during their production. Likewise, the d sound and j sound are voiced sounds, and the vocal cords are involved in their production. For this reason, the t sound is sometimes used as an accidental substitute for the ch sound, and the d sound is accidentally used for the j sound.
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Pronunciation Pages 2
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