How to pronounce [th]

English pronunciation often causes problem to non-native speakers. For example, it is easy to confuse [r] with [l]. I remember hearing this in-flight announcement: “This is your captain speaking… It is my pressure to serve you… Enjoy the fright.”

Why are you smiling? I couldn’t when I heard it.

Another difficult area is the [th] sound. Both the Shanghainese and German accent pronounce this consonant as [s] or [z].

Zerefore, when you discuss philosophy wiz a German, he says: “I sing, zerefore I am.” And when you join ze Huangpu River cruise in Shanghai, ze operator says: “Many Sank”. Come to zink of it, I did have a sinking feeling while on zat boat.

Here’s my three-step guide to pronouncing [th] right:

  1. Place the tip of your tongue between the two rows of teeth.
  2. Read “The Smiths wear thin clothes throughout the winter months.” Repeat until perfect.
  3. Stop tongue bleeding.

If your tongue’s not bleeding, you didn’t bite it; if you didn’t bite it, you didn’t try hard enough.

4 thoughts on “How to pronounce [th]

  1. “Why are you smiling? I couldn’t when I heard it.” — ‘smiling’? I was laughing!

    This post is hilarious! I have just tweeted it.🙂

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