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Hi,

A little background, im Dutch and in my language there is no TH sound like the one in English (as in 'three or thief', and at the end of a word, as in 'with, month or death, etc') and it's giving me some difficulties.

When I pronunciate three for example, it sounds more like "fhree", but when I hear it on TV or somewhere else I can hear a slightly harder T sound in it, which I'm unable to reproduce.
The method as I learned it is to put your tongue between your teeth against the upper teeth and force the air through the gap.
Could someone explain the exact method on how to make this sound in detail?

The same TH + plural sound is difficult for me as well. Like "months" ends up sounding like mon-f-s.
How am I supposed to pronunciate this properly?

Thanks for any help in advance.
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I guess that's the most difficult sound for a non-native speaker. I find it difficult too. The tip of your tongue should be between your upper and lower teeth. It could seem simple, but it's not. If you think you are doing that correctly but the sound is not too similar to the one of native speakers, you have to correct the position of you tongue. It could be that you are sticking out your tongue too much: try to stick out less of your tongue, just the tip. Another possible mistake: you are keeping the tip of you tongue too relaxed and your mouth too tense. That's the other way around, the tip of your tongue is somewhat tense and your mouth and jaw should be relaxed.

Anyway, I'm not a native speaker, I could be wrong but this is how I think that sound is pronounced. Remember that we are not all the same, my advice could not work for everyone.

Good luck.
Thanks for the advice, but it doesn't really help me any further unfortunately.
What I have the most trouble with is the TH sound at the end of a word as a plural (deaths, months, etc).
Unless I'm doing it completely wrong the TH sound is something like a cross between a T and an F,
but I'm having a very hard time going from an F sound to an S without having a short pause between the two letters.

I've searched around the web some for advice, but I can't really find anything that makes it crystal clear on how to
make this particular sound, any advice here would be appreciated.
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Its not just non-native speakers who face this difficulty! Spare a thought for the native speaker who struggles to distinguish f, v and th (more common than you might fink, and there is almost no help available for him or her because correct pronunciation is taken so much for granted). In fact it was only when I was learning French that I realised I might not be alone with my impediment!. You are quite right that the greatest difficulty arises when th comes in the middle or at the end of a word.

If you have been surfing the net you will doubtless have found a fair number of sites offering guidance to those studying English. There is a great article on Wikipedia explaining the origins of the missing 27th letter of the English alphabet. There are some useful videos and exercises to be found at: http://international.ouc.bc.ca/pronunciation /

The neatest bit of advice which I have come across (which stops you instinctively putting your bottom teeth onto your top lip) is:

"to make th sounds put your index finger in front of your lips, then say word containing th. Be sure to lick your finger with every th. Most English speakers don’t put their tongue out this far when they say th, but at least you’ll be getting the idea"....

This does seem to work! Good luck, and if you find any tips let me know!
If you are getting an F sound, you are touching your upper teeth to your lower lip, more or less biting your lower lip. You'll never get a TH that way. Get your lower lip out of the way! Bite your tongue, not your lower lip! Unless you are in danger of biting the tip of your tongue, you can't make a TH!

CJ
CalifJimGet your lower lip out of the way!
Emotion: big smile

I almost fell off my chair with laughter when I read that!

PS: Luckily for Spanish students, both English 'th' sounds are present in Castilian Spanish (in our 'z' and in our 'd') -- that's one less hurdle to overcome!
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I spend a lot of my working day trying to help children achieve a "th" - it's certainly not just second language learners who find it hard! Technically the advice about putting your tongue between your teeth is correct, but in reality it is pretty rare to actually do this in the pace of connected speech.

Something that often works for word final "th" is to think in terms of making a "s", then slightly pushing your tongue forward to touch back of your teeth. You'll instinctively open your teeth a tiny amount to let the sound out, but don't push your tongue out between the teeth. This will allow you to "get back" to the right place for a "s" if you need to for a plural without having a gap between the sounds. (By the way, the English "s" is produced just very slightly further forward than the Dutch "s", which is why the Dutch accent often sounds to us like "sh" rather than "s" - this might also be why you're finding it hard to get back in time to make the "s" on a plural.)

For word initial "th", first get a sense for where you are making your "t" sound (on the alveolar ridge behind your top teeth) by saying a word like "tank" over and over. Now experiment in moving that forward very slightly, so that the very end of your tongue tip is gently touching the back of the 'cutting edge' of your top teeth - about as far forward as you can get without your tongue popping out. This should give your "tank" more of a "thank" quality - as long as you do it gently. Think in terms of making the sound slightly longer and less explosive.
Can anyone tell me what is the difference in speech between wordy and worthy?How can I spell them correctly?
Conchita57PS: Luckily for Spanish students, both English 'th' sounds are present in Castilian Spanish (in our 'z' and in our 'd') -- that's one less hurdle to overcome!
Are there only two 'th' sounds? I though there were three: that in "think", that in "there" and that in "Anthony" (I'm not sure about this one, is it different? People over here tend to say it like "think", but I've also heard it said differently). Anyway, although in Spanish we have the 'th' in "think", we don't have that in "there", do we? We tend to pronounce it like a 'd' but if I'm not wrong, it's not the same (one must kind of stick out one's tongue more).
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