If both t and d are unreleased, as in the words let and led, how do you differentiate between them? Are the different lengths of the short e sound in both words and the context in which they are used the only ways to tell which word is being used?

  • 2
    In addition to the shorter vowel before t, the t may have the glottis closed.
    – Greg Lee
    Oct 31 '15 at 4:15
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    And the glottis may even close before the tongue reaches its target for the alveolar closure (for the [t]), resulting in the formant transitions not reaching values that are as extreme as they are before [d]. Nov 1 '15 at 1:31

Look for very widely-spaced glottal pulses in the last 80 msc or so of [ɛ] in [lɛt], which is creaky voice on the vowel. You may also find that F1 and F2 are a bit higher in [lɛt]. (Pick a point defined from the beginning of the vowel, so that you aren't just measuring a consequence of the shortening of the vowel in [lɛt]).

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