Unvoiced dental fricative
The unvoiced dental fricative is a consonant sound consisting of an unvoiced dental fricative. This sound is represented by the phoneme /θ/; it may also be referred to as an unvoiced th sound. It forms a voiced-unvoiced pair with the voiced dental fricative sound.
Common words[edit | edit source]
Initial pronunciation of /θ/:
- thanks - theaterAmE - theatreBrE - theme - theory - therapy - thick - thin - thing - think - thirteen - thirst - thirty - thorough - thought - thousand - threat - three - threw - throat - through - throw - thumb - Thursday
Final pronunciation of /θ/:
- bath - beneath - birth - both - breath - death - depth - earth - faith - forth - growth - health - length - mathAmE - month - mouth - north - path - south - strength - teeth - tooth - truth - wealth - worth - youth
Middle pronunciation of /θ/:
- anything - everything - nothing - something
- athlete - author - Dorothy - Ethiopia /iːθiːˈoʊpiːə/ - ethnic - healthy - hypothesis - Martha - mathematics - mathsBrE - method - monthly - strengthen - wealthy
Plurals[edit | edit source]
Irregular plurals of words ending in /θ/, as /ðz/
- baths - mouths - paths - youths
Several plurals of words ending in /θ/ are pronounced as /ðz/ and also as /θs/
- oaths - truths - wreaths
/θ/ or /ð/[edit | edit source]
- booth - with
Homophones[edit | edit source]
- threw - through
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit | edit source]
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.
Spanish[edit | edit source]
Spain[edit | edit source]
Many speakers don't distinguish clearly between /θ/ and /ð/ and when they see "th" tend to pronounce it [θ], a sound which corresponds to the letter "z" in Spanish. This happens also when speaking Spanish: Madrid's inhabitants are notorious for pronouncing [ma'driθ].
Another difficulty is the tendency to pronounce the initial letter "c" as /θ/ in words like "city" and "centre".
Latin America[edit | edit source]
The /θ/ sound doesn't exist, and speakers tend to replace it with /s/ or /t/. However, if another phoneme must be chosen it has been suggested to use /f/, for example pronounce "think" as * instead of *.
Italian[edit | edit source]
The /θ/ sound doesn't exist, and speakers tend to replace it with /f/.
References[edit | edit source]
- Geoff Lindsey, The British English vowel system, comment dated March 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm.