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I've noticed that, in informal American english, we don't pronounce the word "didn't" exactly as /ˈdɪd(ə)nt/. There's a nasal sound right before the "n" that sound a bit like the /ŋ/, but not exactly. Does anybody know what this sound is?

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  • If my answer below is on the right track, then it's not a phoneme. Just a sound, which still counts as a realisation of the phoneme /d/ (just as user6726 was saying).
    – Alazon
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 23:12

2 Answers 2

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Probably, what you do is a [d] sound with nasal release: instead of releasing the [d] in the standard way through the mouth, the soft palate moves and ejects the air through the nose (because the following [n] is articulated in the same way). You can test whether this is what happens by pinching your nose while saying "didnt" :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_release

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It is still the phoneme /d/. Without a clean recording of your pronunciation, it really not possible to say what the narrow phonetic value is. It is possible that you merge /d/ and /n/ into what resembles a glottalized nasal.

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