Th-fronting

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Th-fronting involves the pronunciation of the dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ as labiodental fricatives /f/ or /v/, (so "thought" sounds like "fought") and mother sounds /'mʌvə(r)/. This is found in some native accents, and may also be used by learners.

It is a characteristic feature of London speech, particularly Cockney, i.e. what could be considered working-class speech, but also extends into much of South East England and, due to the influence of TV, as far afield as Glasgow.[1]

/f/ and /v/ is generally understood by native English speakers. It may also be a good idea for English language learners to be aware of this for listening purposes.

As for speaking, most TEFL teachers encourage students towards the standard pronunciation of {th} as dental fricatives, while acknowledging the high difficulty level for many students. This is therefore at worst, mispronunciation or at best a non-standard variant pronunciation. Obviously error correction should be focused on priorities, and depending on context, this may or may not be considered a priority for correction to the standard pronunciation. Notably, an English language learner may learn this from peers if they are learning English within a community where it is prevalent (e.g. they are studying in London). Exercise your judgment - it's what you're getting paid for.

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