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The /ð/ sound (th)

Duration: 03:40

English Language Club

English Language Club

Published on 05 November 2014

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The /ð/ is a sound from the ‘Consonants Pairs’ group and it is called the ‘Voiced dental fricative’. This means that you create friction between the tongue and top teeth.
The /ð/ sound is made through the mouth and it is Voiced which means that you vibrate your vocal chords to make the sound.
It is defined by position of your tongue and teeth and it is a fricative, which is a sound that is produced by high pressure air flow between a narrow space in the mouth. In this case it is between the tip of the tongue and the top teeth.
To produce the sound you have to stick out your tongue a little. This can feel very unnatural for some people who are not used to it. But i is essential to produce the sound correctly. Rest your top teeth on your tongue and force air out between your teeth whilst voicing out.

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This video is part of our series on phonetics and pronunciation for learners of English as a foreign language.

Phonetics is the science of pronunciation. It can be helpful for people learning English because one of the most difficult things about the language is the spelling and pronunciation. English is not very phonetic and as a result the same letters are often pronounced in many different ways in different words.
The IPA helps by providing a way to write words as they are pronounced. The normal alphabet only has 26 characters but there are 44 different sounds that are used to pronounce words. As well as that, most word in English originate from other languages like Greek, Latin and French to name just a few and in many cases the the language of origin influences how the word is pronounced.
The IPA provides a symbol (phoneme) for each sound so the correct pronunciation can be written or printed in dictionaries.

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