© Arlyn Freed, all rights reserved.
regular past tense and the regular past participle suffixes (the past participle
is used for the
perfect tenses and the passive voice) share a common set of pronunciation rules:
When the verb ends in /d/ or /t/, the ending is pronounced as /Id/
d/. This is a
schwa symbol: [ə ]; it looks like an upside-down and backwards letter 'e'. However, these
symbols don't always read correctly on a computer, so I will use the word instead of the
symbol; but you should learn to recognize this symbol, as it is used in dictionaries and textbooks.
§ When the verb ends in a voiced sound other than /d/, the ending is pronounced as /d/.
§ When the verb ends in a voiceless consonant other than /t/, the ending is pronounced as /t/.
The IPA chart indicates which consonants are voiced (like b, d, g, v, z, etc.) and which are voiceless
(like p, t, k, f, s, etc.). Where you see pairs of sounds the voiceless sound is on the left, and the voiced
sound on the right. When a voiced sound is produced, the vocal cords in the larynx (voice box)
vibrate. When a voiceless sound is produced the vocal cords do not vibrate. All the consonants of
English can be classified in terms of "VPM" (voice-place-manner). For instance, /p/ is a voiceless
labiodental fricative, and /b/ is a voiced bilabial plosive (stop).
Adapted from Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Goodwin, J. M. (1996) Teaching pronunciation: A reference for
teachers of English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.