Take on the ‘Th’ Challenge!
De Ting wit ‘Th’ – Take on the ‘th’ challenge!
Mastering the English ‘th’ sound may be a significant pronunciation challenge for many learners of English.
Why? Because the English ‘th’ sound:
- doesn’t exist in many other world languages
- is very common in English, and it
- changes depending on where it occurs in the word.
For example, in the subtitle above (De Ting wit ‘Th’), we have three different ‘th’ sounds in the first three words:
- De – “The” begins with a voiced ‘th’.
- Ting – “Thing” begins with an unvoiced ‘th’, and
- Wit – “With” ends in an unvoiced ‘th’
That’s not all.
What about the ‘th’ sounds in the middle of English words? The ‘th’ in ‘weather’ is voiced, while the ‘th’ in ‘birthday’ is unvoiced.
What can you do?
First, listen carefully – and try to notice the many ‘th’ sounds used by anyone speaking English – anywhere.
To ‘produce’ new sounds in a new language, we first need to ‘tune’ our ears to hear those new sounds. [When we can’t ‘hear’ important differences in new sounds, we simply ‘borrow’ similar sounds from our mother tongue. The results can be confusing, or even dangerous.]
Next, try to consciously, repeatedly practice correct pronunciation of the ‘th’ words you often hear or often use.
Check with English speakers. Ask for help, and persevere.
Here’s a great BBC Learning English video resource:
- BBC Learning English – Pronunciation of ‘th’ – English In A Minute [1 min]
Would you like a personal analysis of your English pronunciation?
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