One of the most difficult sounds for English learners to master (beyond the elusive “H”) is “TH.”
Every time new students encounter this sound, I undoubtedly have a classroom of lisping pupils tripping over their tongues. Ordinal numbers are particularly problematic. The “TH” is tacked on as an exaggerated afterthought.
And you can forget 35th!
To help you with this sound, let’s look at its TWO forms, and how produce them.
The voiced “TH”
To pronounce this “TH”, place the tip of your tongue between your top and bottom teeth and vibrate your vocal cords. If you’re doing this correctly, you should feel a vibration if you place your fingers on the front of your neck.
Now, with your fingers still on your neck, say the following words:
The silent “TH”
To pronounce this “TH”, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth but just blow air through your mouth without vibrating your vocal cords. There should just be the sound of air with no vibration.
Now say the following words:
Yay! Thumbs up, you’re an authority on “TH”!