常見發音錯誤 Do you say ‘fank you’, ‘sank you’, or ‘thank you’?
th pronunciation errors

常見發音錯誤 Do you say ‘fank you’, ‘sank you’, or ‘thank you’?

Posted by Grant Richardson, 25th July, 2018

Mispronunciation of the two ‘th’ sounds is such a common mistake, and it will typically limit your Pronunciation score to 6.

‘Th’ is pronounced one of two possible ways depending on the word, and you should practice both of these sounds:

  1. unvoiced (e.g. “thumb”, “both“), represented by /θ/
  2. voiced (e.g. there, breathe), represented by /ð/

For both these ‘th’ sounds (voiced or unvoiced), the tip of the tongue lightly rests between the top and bottom teeth for both sounds.

Practice saying these words:

  1. /θ/ bath, cloth, thank, thing, three
  2. /ð/ bathe, clothe, that, this, those

Cantonese native speakers must be careful not to replace /θ/ with /f/:

  • bath –> baaf
  • cloth –> cloff
  • thank you –> fank you
  • thing –> fing
  • three –> free (‘free’ is a different word!)

And not to replace /ð/ with /d/ or /v/, depending on whether the ‘th’ is at the beginning or end of the syllable:

  • that –> dat
  • this –> dis
  • those –> doze (‘doze’ is a different word!)
  • bathe –> bave
  • clothe –> clove (‘clove’ is a different word!)

Native speakers of many other languages, including Mandarin, might sometimes incorrectly use /s/ for /θ/, and /z/ for /ð/:

  • bath –> bahss
  • cloth –> closs
  • thing –> sing (‘sing’ is a different word!)
  • think –> sink (‘sink’ is a different word!)
  • three –> sree
  • bathe –> baze
  • clothe –> close (‘close’ is a different word!)
  • that –> zat
  • this –> zis
  • those –> zose

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