How to Correctly Articulate th Words

th words

How to Pronounce th Words

Wondering what th words are? You`ll find out shortly.

It`s no longer news that second language users of English substitute some English sounds with those of their mother tongue, which they consider equivalent to the sounds of English. Many of such speakers don’t try to learn how to enunciate these sounds correctly, and as a result, aren’t intelligible. Do you desire to learn correct English pronunciations? Then you’re on the right blog! In this article, we’ll discuss how to articulate the English th sounds, /θ/ and /ð/, which are common in most th words.

The /θ/ Sound

You can articulate the /θ/ sound by pushing the tip of your tongue slightly forward to be positioned between the upper and lower rows teeth. An alternative is making the tip of your tongue touch the back of your upper row of teeth. Note that while your tongue takes this position and you push some air out, your voice should be off. You would realise that there is no vibration in the articulation of this sound. For this purpose, let’s call the /θ/ sound the voiceless th or the soft th sound

Try articulating the voiceless th with these words:  

  • think
  • thrill
  • thread
  • threat
  • thank
  • author
  • moths
  • eighths
  • anthology
  • ethics
  • worth
  • wrath
  • myth
  • teeth
  • path

Some second language users of English articulate the /t/ sound where they should articulate the /θ/ sound. So they make thing sound like tin and thank sound like tank. That is wrong, as you must have realised.

Soft th Words in Sentences 

  • I think the three ladies are athletes.
  • The three thieves thought they could throw the three thousand Naira away.
  • We thanked Arthur at the theatre.

Keep practising the sound until you`re great at it.  

 The /ð/ Sound

Here`s another th sound. The /ð/ is articulated just like its /θ/ counterpart. The only difference between them is that while is /θ/ is voiceless, /ð/ is voiced. So we can call /ð/ the hard th sound because some vibration occurs in its articulation.

Try practising with these words:

  • that
  • they
  • then
  • these
  • the   
  • father
  • mother
  • brother
  • another
  • together
  • soothe
  • clothe
  • bathe
  • breathe
  • smooth

From our discourse, one may be quick to assume that all th words have either /θ/ or /ð/ in their articulation. That would be a wrong assumption. As with many linguistic cases, this too has some exceptions. Some th words are neither articulated with the /θ/ nor the /ð/ sound, rather they are pronounced with the /t/ sound. Here are some examples of such words:

  • thyme
  • thali
  • Esther
  • Thomas
  • Thames
  • Anthony
  • Thailand
  • Thompson

Is it safe to assume you can correctly articulate th words? Would you be needing a personal guide to make you better at these and other aspects of English? That would sure be a great idea. Reach out to us via email, hello@akinteachesenglish.com, and we would be glad to assign an online coach who will ensure that you get much better at speaking the English language.

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