Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about pronunciation. I'm going to focus on beginning TH sounds. Let's get started!
Okay, beginning TH sounds are broken into two categories. There are voiced TH sounds and unvoiced TH sounds. Let's start with the voiced TH sounds. So, a voiced sound means we use our vocal cords to make the sound. So, one big tip for today's lesson especially, is over here, about voiced and unvoiced sounds, if you're not sure about the difference between a voiced sound and an unvoiced sound, you can practice by touching your throat right here when you make the sound. So, for voiced sounds, if you touch your throat when you make the sound and you hear or you feel a vibration, that means the sound is voiced, so you're using your vocal cords to make the sound. So, vibration means it's a voiced sound. If you touched your throat when you make the sound and there is no vibration, that means it's an unvoiced sound. So, this is a quick way to test if you're making a voiced sound or an unvoiced sound, so you can use this for today's lesson.
So, I want to begin, as I said, with voiced TH sounds. So, to make the voiced TH sound, you can practice by putting the tip of your tongue, that means like the top of your tongue or not the top of your tongue, but like the part of your tongue that's like right here, right there. Put that against the back of your upper teeth. So your upper teeth, put that, the tip of your tongue, that part of the tongue I just pointed to, put that against, so if this is your tongue and this is your teeth, put that against your teeth to make that first position. Then, when you release that position, make the vowel sound that follows the word. So, it's not just making the TH sound, but because this is a voiced sound, we're making the sound together with like another vowel sound. So, when we release our tongue from this position, we continue on in our mouth to making the vowel sound next.
So, some great examples to practice with are words like these; this, that, these, those, the, and there. So you'll notice as well that the words that are voiced TH sounds or the words that used voiced TH sounds are kind of like these grammar words. They're really closely linked to the grammar of the sentence. It's not like the nouns or like the verbs in a sentence, but it's like those small words.
So again, when we make these sounds, these, these, so the beginning position, my tongue is against my teeth, "the," the, and I pair that as I'm moving away from the back of my teeth with my tongue, I go to the vowel sound, "this," this, this. I change the vowel sound and I change my mouth's position, that, that. So when I say, "I change my mouth's position," I mean, I change the position that I move to. So this position, I always begin from this position, "the," the. I always start there. But then I change the position of my mouth to make the next vowel sound, so "this," "that," so my mouth is kind of wide to make that "that" sound. "These," these, so it's like I'm smiling when I'm making the sound, so my tongue begins against my teeth and then I move to an E sound, "these." I make the sound when I release my tongue from that position, "these."
When I make the O sound, "those," those, this is a case where you might notice the tip of your tongue comes between your teeth a little bit. That's okay, "those," those, that's totally natural. So, my mouth is making on O shape, "those," those, but basically, the top of my tongue still begins against my upper teeth. I'm making O sound, so I release my tongue from that position, "those," and I make an O sound to follow it.
With this one, the, the, this is another case where the tip of your tongue might move between your teeth a little bit, that's okay, "the," the, the. Another one, "they're," they're, they're. So, another example where the tip of your tongue might move a little more between your teeth to make the sound. So, these are all voiced sounds.
So, to test again, you can touch your throat when you make this sound. So "this," my throat vibrates, "that," "these," "those," "the," "there." So, they should all make a vibrating or a vibration, rather, in your throat when you make the sound. So these are voiced TH sounds, beginning sounds with TH that are voiced.
I want to compare this then to unvoiced sounds. So, again, as I said, an unvoiced sound or you might note a voiceless sound is a sound in which no vocal cords are used to make the sound. So, if we touch our throat when we make the sound, we won't feel any vibration, that's correct.
So, to practice making an unvoiced sound, you can begin by practicing these very slowly. So, you can put the tip of your tongue between your teeth to make this sound. So, that's the beginning position that you can slowly practice. So, that means, between your top teeth and your bottom teeth, put the tip of your tongue between those. That's the starting position.
So, some examples. A great example we can begin with is "think," think. So you might think, why is this an unvoiced sound? I hear a vowel sound. When I touch my throat and say "think," my throat vibrates. Yes, that's true, but we're focusing on the TH sound only. So make the TH sound in "think," /th/, /th/. There's no voice like there is no vibration in your vocal cords. The I sound in "think" is voiced, yes, but the TH sound is not voiced, so it's /th/ sound. It's just a feeling like you have the feeling of air passing through your mouth. There's no vibration in your vocal cords, so this is the correct way to make an unvoiced TH sound, /th/, /th/.
So let's try this with another word. We practiced a little bit with "think," think. Another example, "thanks," thanks. So, this is a word I often hear students make an S sound instead like "sanks," not correct. So, make sure you use your tongue, "thanks," thanks to make this sound.
Another one, "thought," thought, so again, /th/ begins with no sound, /th/. So, "thought," thought. I opened up into the next vowel sound, "thought." Another one, "thunder," thunder. So, here, I'm making a U sound after my unvoiced TH, :"thunder," thunder. Another one, "thigh," thigh. So you can hear, as I did, with all of these, I'm like making the next vowel sound so my mouth is already moving to the next vowel sound as I'm making my TH sound, so they're very closely connected.
If you'd like to practice slowly by maybe breaking down the, the sounds like "/TH/ INK," it's okay, but try to put them together. So, "/TH/ INK," maybe, "/TH/ ANKS," "/TH/ OUGHT." That's how we could perhaps break down this, but try to put them together. Practice making the sounds together to make your speech sound more natural.
Let's look at some more examples, "three," three, three. So here, maybe, is a little tricky point, this R sound that comes after the TH, "three," three. So, you can kind of imagine there's another E here, "three." So that's the position, we don't say an E, but that's sort of the position of the mouth to make that R sound after the TH, "three," three. So, I'm kind of dropping my jaw a little bit to make that /R/ sound, "three," three.
Another example, "thirteen," thirteen, thirteen. So when I make this sound, there's a little gap here, right here, "thirteen," thirteen, thirteen. So, again, the TH is unvoiced, /th/, "thirteen," so my voice does not begin until the "I" sound here. There's a little gap, "thirteen." Okay, one more, "thud," thud, thud. So again, TH makes no sound. My…my vowel sound is a voiced sound, "thud," thud.
So, these are a few words that you can use to practice making this voiced and unvoiced sounds. So, you can begin by practicing words like these individually, by themselves, then you can begin making sentences and trying tongue twisters that use these sounds too. So, practice these words together in sentences as well, so don't focus just on like one word. You can, of course, put them together and try to say them quickly like this, that, these, those, the, there. You can try to say it quickly like that or for unvoiced sounds; think, thanks, thought, thunder, thigh, three, thirteen, thud, if you want to practice making those sounds quickly. So you can kind of build your own tongue twisters in this way, if you want. But this is a basic introduction to voiced and unvoiced TH sounds, especially at the beginning of word, that was the focus for today's lesson.
So if you have any questions or comments or if there's something else that you'd like to see on the channel, please feel free to leave us a comment below. Of course, if you know a good tongue twister that uses these sounds, please share that with us as well. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!