Voiced dental fricative

From Teflpedia

ð

that /ðæt/

The Voiced dental fricative is a consonant sound formed by a voiced dental fricative. It's commonly represented by the digraph th, hence its name as a voiced th sound; it forms a consonant pair with the unvoiced dental fricative.

Common words[edit | edit source]

With initial /ð/:

  • Grammar words: than - that - the - their - them - then - there - these - they - this - those - though - thus

/ð/ in mid-position:

  • Grammar words: although - another - either - neither - other - rather - together - whether - within /wɪðˈɪn, wɪθˈɪnAmE/ - without /wɪˈðaʊt, wɪθˈaʊtAmE/
  • Content words: bother - brother - clothing - father - farther - feather - further - gather - leather - mother - Netherlands - northern - rhythm - southern /ˈsʌðərn/ - weather

With final /ð/:

  • Grammar word: with /wɪð/ or /wɪθ/
  • Content words: breathe - smooth

Less common words[edit | edit source]

  • /ð/ in mid-position : heathen, heather, worthy
  • With final /ð/: bathe, booth /buːð,BrE buːθAmE/, clothe, loathe, soothe, teethe

Irregular plurals[edit | edit source]

Some words ending in /θ/ have a plural ending in /ðz/

  • baths - mouths - paths - youths

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]

The main difficulty is the difference between /ð/ and /d/, that is, they may have difficulty distinguishing between "they" and "day". In Spanish both sounds are allophones. This means that to the Spanish ear [aˈðjos], and [aˈdjos] are heard as the same word, even if only [aˈðjos] is the natural pronunciation of "adiós".

Since in Spanish [d] always follows [n], a sentence such as "can they go?" may be uttered as */kən deɪ ˈgəʊ/.

Spain[edit | edit source]

Many Spanish speakers from Spain don't distinguish clearly between /ð/ and /θ/ and when they see "th" tend to pronounce it /θ/, a sound which corresponds to the letter "z" in Spanish. They even replace the [ð] sound of castillian Spanish by [θ]. For example, the name of the satirical website La Verdaz is a phonetic rendering of "La Verdad" in a regional accent from Spain.