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'TH': Consonant Sound / ð / as in "this"- American English Pronunciation

Duration: 07:24

Sounds American

Sounds American

Published on 08 December 2016

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Description :

Learn how to pronounce consonant sound /ð/ used in words like "them," "brother," or "though."
Improve your American accent with two phonetic exercises recorded by a professional speech therapist.
Practice pronunciation of the /ð/ consonant sound in commonly used words.
Check if you can find a surprise bonus at the end of the video!

Quick links:
• How to make the consonant sound /ð /: 01:16
• Pronunciation exercise 1: 03:23
• Pronunciation exercise 2: 05:21
• Facts about the /ð/: 06:40

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Hello there! This is the "Sounds American" channel.
In this video, we're going to talk about the American consonant sound /ð/, as in the word "this."
You can also hear this sound in words like "than", "there", "other" or "mother."
We'll be using a special phonetic symbol - /ð/ - for this sound.

The English /ð/ sound occurs in less than 10% of the world languages and it's not present in the majority of European and Asian languages.
Therefore, this sound can be challenging for those non-native English speakers who don't have it in their native languages. They often distort it or replace it with more familiar sounds, such as /z/, /d/, /v/, or /θ/.
Keep watching to learn how to pronounce the /ð/ sound and practice it in words.
First, let's find out how to make this sound.

This sound is the voiced counterpart of the voiceless /θ/. This means that it's made the same way, but with adding a voice.

Slightly open your mouth and put the tip of your tongue between your front teeth.
Note that the tip of your tongue may gently touch the bottom of your upper front teeth.
Now blow air over your tongue making a noise. The stream of air should flow between your upper teeth and the tongue.
Note that the /ð/ is a voiced consonant sound, so you need to add your voice when pronouncing it.
Let's try saying it: /ð/, /ð/, /ð/.

Here are a few common mistakes that people make when pronouncing the /ð/:
1. Not pushing the tongue forward enough or pressing the tip of the tongue against the upper front teeth. This way you'll make a consonant that sounds more like a /z/.
- Put the tip of your tongue between your upper and bottom front teeth.
2. Stopping the airflow with the tip of the tongue. The /ð/ sound gets distorted and sounds more like /d/ or even /t/.
- /ð/ is a continuous sound; so keep the airstream flowing. You should be able to stretch the /ð/ out: /ð- ð- ð- ð/.

[Pronunciation exercise]
Now, let's practice the /ð/ sound in some words.
You'll see a word on the screen and hear its pronunciation. Like this.
You'll have a few seconds to pronounce the word. Make sure you repeat each word after the speaker, you'll be surprised how fast your pronunciation improves.
Let's begin.

• than
• that
• the
• their
• them
• then
• there
• these
• they
• this
• those
• though
• thus
• another
• bathe

Let's pause for a second and check on how you're making the /ð/ sound.
The tip of your tongue should be between your teeth.
The sound is made from the friction in the stream of air flowing between your tongue and the teeth. Don't forget to add your voice.

Let's continue practicing.
[Pronunciation exercise]

• bother
• breathe
• brother
• either
• father
• further
• gather
• leather
• mother
• northern
• other
• rather
• smooth
• together
• weather

You're done! Congratulations!

BTW, if you count all the words with the consonant sound /ð/, there won't be many of them. We're crazy enough to know that it's less than one percent of all English words.

However, most of them are function words; and function words are the most frequently used ones in American English. So the consonant sound /ð/ is present in practically every sentence.

You probably want to go back and practice now :)

Don't be shy, leave us a comment if you have any questions.
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