This isn't exactly a global Englishes-related post but I've explained this once or twice recently so I thought it might be worth blogging about.
One of my former students in HK asked me the following on Facebook:
"About the coda /ts/:
- Why is there an italicised /t/ before /s/ in the transcriptions of words like 'dance', 'finance', 'answer' in some learner dictionaries?
- Is there now a systematic use of this /t/ in British English native speakers?"
"This means that, although there is no 't' in the spelling, it is sometimes pronounced by a speaker. This is called an epenthetic /t/.
"The reason it occurs is because there is a homorganic nasal + fricative (in this case, /ns/). For a nasal the velum is lowered but for an obstruent like /s/ the velum has to be raised.
"In the sequence of articulation, if the velum is raised while the tongue is still making a complete contact with the alveolar ridge and upper side molars before the tongue moves to a narrow approximation with the alveolar ridge, there may be plosion rather than a straightforward narrow/fricative release.
"Compare the two words 'mints' and 'mince', which can sound the same in e.g. RP."
After discussing /t/ epenthesis on the UCL Summer Course in English Phonetics this year, one of my class told me the following joke:
Q: How do you find Will Smith after a blizzard?
A: Go outside and look for the fresh prints in the snow.