if you are a native speaker, you might procounce word "beatle,""little,"" with softened t sound

and I believe the same way would be applied when you pronounce "Comfortable", "Portable"

However, I have difficulty touching the back of upper front teeth with my tongue every time I try to pronounce the second set of words which include "portable" and "comfortable". since I have to make R sound, I roll my tongue to the back and ends up touching the roof instead of the back of upper front teeth.

I could lift my tougue up to gently touch the back of upper front teeth first and put the tip of tongue on the roof of mouth when I procounce the first set of words which includes "beatle" and "little"

Native speakers please help me how to pronounce these different sets correctly.

Thank You!
Try substituting the d sound for t in beetle, little, comfortable, and portable.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
i did as u recommended but it sounds worse. can I skip t sound in comfortable or portable and say cum-for-a-bul or por-a-bul?
pousucan I skip t sound in comfortable or portable
Sorry. No. You can't skip it.

Are you sure you're doing the r correctly? Your tongue should be in approximately the same place for r as for d, except that it doesn't touch anything for the r. If your native language has a rolled, trilled, tapped, or flapped r, then you're quickly touching your tongue to a point just above your teeth to produce the r, and you have to stop doing that in English. I wonder if that's the problem.

Dear Pousu,

Here in the U.S., comfortable is pronounced KUMF-ter-ble.

Don't let anybody tell you different.

The -t- in words like little, Beatle, and portable is what's called an "apical flap."

Apical means that it's made with the tip of the tongue.

Flap means that the tip of the tongue comes up and flaps against the alveolar ridge (the horseshoe-shaped ridge of bone behind your teeth).

If you know what the -r- sounds like in a Spanish word like para, that's the sound you're going for.

Standard American English /t/ is made with the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge, not against the back of the teeth. Dental /t/ can be heard in the dialects of some speakers who are descended from people whose native language used a dental /t/. For example, some Italian-Americans might use a dental /t/, though this is much less common now than it was when I was young.

It sounds like someone has told you to curl the tip of the tongue backwards to make the /r/ sound. This not necessary. Keep the back of your tongue tense and raise it up in a hump shape until the sides of your tongue press against the inside edges of your back teeth. Here's another approach. Start by making the "ah" sound (the sound of the vowel in the word hot). Slowly raise the back of your tongue until it makes the /g/ sound. The back of your tongue will pass through /r/ on the way from "ah" to /g/.

And, yes, it's true. Your tongue has to travel a long way to get from /r/ to /t/. Allow yourself to slow down and take all the time you need. We're never going to be able to speak our second languages as quickly as our first language, especially if we care about our pronunciation.

Intervocalic -t- (t between two vowels) sounds the same as intervocalic -d-. There's no difference betwen the pronunciation of the -t- and the pronunciation of the -d- in pairs of words like matter/madder, beetle/beadle, writer/rider. What there is is an ever-so-slight lengthening of the first vowel in the words spelled with d. However, this lengthening is so slight that you probably have to be a native speaker to hear it.

It sounds like you know a lot about pronunciation. I've always loved studying phonology and I wonder if you do too? What's your first language?

The Linguist
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
First off, sorry for this late reply I've been away from the site for a while. wow your answer really helped me a lot. But I still lots of question for you lol. my first language is Korean. I got interested in prounciation cuz it is so stressful when I hear people say what what whenever I make weird prounciation. I try my best to correct my mistakes but its not really easy. can u keep help me with pronounciation?
Nicely explained.