How to Pronounce “TH” Sounds
If you speak English as your second language or if you’re just learning English right now, you might find that there are some sounds in the English language that are harder to say than others. One of these is the “Th.” It is spelled with “Th”, but we pronounce it as a voiceless sound–just air coming out–or the same motion with the voice.
The Ways the “Th” Sound is Mispronounced
Now, some people have trouble with this sound because it doesn’t exist in their language or if it does exist in spelling, it might be pronounced in a different way. So some of the ways that people mispronounce the “TH” sound can be like:
- An “F” so instead of saying “think” or “thumb” they might say “fink” or “fumb”
- Another way it might be mispronounced is with an “S” sound in the beginning so we would have “sink” instead of “think” and “some” instead of “thumb”
- The last way that I find people mispronouncing this sound would be pronouncing it as a “T” so we would have “tink” instead of “think” and “tum” instead of “thumb”
The Voiced “Th” Sound
When we talk about the voiced “TH” sound, some of the common mistakes I find people are making:
- Substitute a “Z” for the “TH” so they might say “zuh” instead of “the” and “zeez” or “zat” instead of “these” and “that”
- Another way might be to pronounce it with a “V.” They say “vuh” instead of “the” and “vat” instead of “that”
- And the last way is that they might be saying it like a “D” sound so they say “duh” instead of “the” and “dat” instead of “that”
How to Actually Make the “Th” Sound
Alright, so let’s figure out how we actually make this sound. What you need to do is let your tongue go between your teeth and just stick it out a little bit. You don’t want to stick it out too much or you could end up looking like a lizard. We don’t want that!
Put your tongue between your teeth. Do not bite down hard on your tongue or no sound will be able to get out. You just have to lightly have your tongue between your teeth and your top teeth are against the top of your tongue. Then you let some air go across lightly. We say the word “thumb” in this way and “think” or at end of a word “bath”, “mouth” and “with.”
Ok, now we try the voiced “TH” sound. We do exactly the same thing only we add voicing to it. So we’ll say the word “the.” Start out tongue between the teeth. Air slides over top of tongue with voicing: “the” and “that” or at the end of a word, “breathe” and “smooth.” Why don’t you give it a try? “Think”, “thumb”, “this”, “that”, “bath”, “with”, “breathe”, “smooth.” Ok great!
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