More th sounds practice
Quickly saying the th sounds in paragraphs
Hi again, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English pronunciation podcast. My name is Mandy, and this is our 148th episode.
Today we are going to practice the th sounds, but instead of practicing the sounds in single words, we are going to practice them within a paragraph. This is good, especially for the th sounds, because they usually occur in function words, such as in the article the and the pronouns them and they. Since function words are spoken so quickly, those words pass by very quickly. Even though they are said quickly, accuracy with these sounds will make you sound more fluent.
Since we'll be practicing whole sentences, you may want to read along with the transcripts for this episode. You can find the transcripts by going to www.pronuncian.com/podcast, and clicking "Episode 148". Pronuncian is spelled p-r-o-n-u-n-c-i-a-n.
Before we get to the paragraph, let's quickly review what the th sounds are.
The letters th are used to represent both the voiced th and the unvoiced th. The voiced th sounds like voiced th. To create that sound, the tip of my tongue is very lightly touching the backside of my top front teeth. When I create the sound, air must be forced between the tip of my tongue and my top front teeth. At the same time, my vocal cords are vibrating. You may have been taught to put your tongue between your front teeth to create this sound. You will get an accurate sound, but most people find it very difficult to create the sound that way when speaking quickly. Therefore, I recommend learning to keep your tongue behind your top front teeth.
Another important fact about the voiced th is that it's a continuous sound. You should be able to hold the sound for a few seconds. Try it with me voiced th. If you cannot hold the sound, you might be accidentally completely stopping the air. If you stop the air during the voiced th, a native speaker will most likely hear a d sound instead of the voiced th.
The position of the tongue is exactly the same for the unvoiced th sound. The difference between the sounds is that the vocal cords are not vibrating during the unvoiced th. Listen to the unvoiced th unvoiced th. Now I'll say both of them, first the voiced th, then the unvoiced th (voiced th, unvoiced th).
Now you try saying them with me, first the voiced th, then the unvoiced th (voiced th, unvoiced th).
Okay, so let's move on to the paragraph practice. I took this paragraph from a new exercise for the th sounds lesson. The exercise has this paragraph, read in individual sentences, plus two more practice paragraphs. The only way to get access to the exercise is to sign up for a Pronuncian subscription or membership. You can find details about that by clicking "Join Pronuncian" on the right hand side of the Pronuncian.com webpage.
I'm going to read the paragraph all the way through, then we'll take it sentence by sentence.
The other day, I forgot my phone on the bus. The next morning I went to the lost and found office to see if it had been turned in. I saw the phone on the desk at the office. Since the battery had died during the night, it was difficult to convince the man that it was mine. Then I remembered a v-shaped scratch on the back of the phone. I described the scratch to the man, and he happily returned the phone to me.
Now, let's practice sentence by sentence. I'll leave time for you to repeat after me. Be extra careful with the th sounds:
The other day, I forgot my phone on the bus.
The next morning I went to the lost and found office to see if it had been turned in.
I saw the phone on the desk at the office.
Since the battery had died during the night, I had to convince the man that it was mine.
Then I remembered a v-shaped scratch on the back of the phone.
I described the scratch to the man, and he happily returned the phone to me.
How was that? Like I said, if you like this kind of practice, there is more of it on the th sound paragraph practice exercise linked from the th sound lesson. I'll link to the lesson from this episode's transcript page.
You can also listen to authentic speech in whole sentences and paragraphs by listening to an audiobook read by a native English speaker. I haven't mentioned it in a while, but you can still get a free audio book by signing up for a free 14-day trial of Audible.com. Use our special web address: www.audiblepodcast.com/pronuncian as a way to help support this show and to get your free audio book to keep. If you cancel your subscription with Audible before 14 days, you are charged nothing, but you get to keep your free book.
That's all for today everyone. This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. SLA is where the world comes to learn.
Thanks for listening.
About the ESL/ELL Teacher
Mandy has been teaching ESL, pronunciation and accent reduction since 2005 at Seattle Learning Academy, an English language school in Seattle, Washington, USA. She uses her experience with intermediate to advanced students to create the topics that most affect students living and working in the United States and can help them communicate better and more clearly.
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