We may think there is a “t” sound in the word hearty, as in hearty welcome, but in fact, for most of us, there isn’t.
On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss some surprising homophones, or words that sound the same but are spelled differently.
The expression party hearty originally had a “t,” but it also became understood as party hardy. Nowadays, both words can be used.
“One of the issues is that hearty with a “t” and hardy with a “d” sure sound a lot alike when you say them,” Curzan describes. But why do these words sound similar?
These words are homophones because of the alveolar flap, a sound made when a tongue hits the alveolar ridge.
“The alveolar ridge is the ridge behind your top teeth,” Curzan explains. “When you make the sound ‘tuh’ or ‘duh,’ your tongue hits that ridge.”