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the phrase: "Sit down" phonetically looks like [sɪt daʊn]. The "t" and "d" are in the same tongue position. Can we drop the "t" in the first word in this situation in fast/casual speech? like this: [sɪdaʊn]

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  • By the way, the technical way to say "in the same position" is Homorganic, meaning the same organs are involved in the pronunciation. So one speaks of homorganic nasal+stop clusters: [mb, nd, ŋɡ]. Apr 14 '15 at 17:27
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You don't need to be talking fast. Something does happen, and you could call it "dropping", but /t/ isn't necessarily phonologically deleted. If you do delete /d/, you'd get flapping and the result would be the same as if you deleted /t/. Or the tongue gestures overlap in time, giving the same result as segment deletion. I don't think you can do that in British English.

EDIT: BTW, this is not a general process, it's limited to a few fixed expressions. Compare most instances of /t#d/ as in "straight down", "Put Don on the chair", "Hit Darlene", "sit downwind" and so on, where there is no dropping. It's the same lexicalized contraction process that you have in "will not" → "won't", "going to" → "gonna".

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  • I don't hear the T in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=x6gPHEAJ-6o and I didn't notice the presence of a held T (the American T that is held, in other words the puff of air is held in and not released). Apr 14 '15 at 16:45
  • Frequently enough in American English, the /t/ appears as glottal stop [ʔ] before some consonants: [ˌɡɛʔ'da̧u̧n]. Other options include flapped [ɡɨɾ'a̧u̧n], especially when followed by ['ɔfə'ðɛɹ] 'geddown offa there'. Apr 14 '15 at 17:25
  • @ZoltanKing, people often don't hear the closure of [t] in "fast speech", but physiological studies have show that it is frequently present, just not audible. Since "dropping" isn't a technical linguistic term, you can use it to refer to a lot of things, ranging from "gesture reduction" to "phonological deletion", and could reasonably used to refer to something being "covered up" acoustically, even though it is articulatorily present.
    – user6726
    Apr 14 '15 at 17:49
  • @ZoltanKing, no, I don't hear a [t] in the video, either. Just a flap. I don't know whether to count the flap as a survivor of the [t] of "sit" or the [d] of "down", though. Because ordinarily a word-initial [d] before a stressed vowel does not get flapped. Maybe the [d] is dropped, leaving the [t] in a position where it is subject to flapping. (Or, to be technical enough for our friend, I should say that the [d] is gesture-reduced down to where there is nothing left of it.)
    – Greg Lee
    Apr 15 '15 at 4:26

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