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One of the most commonly mispronounced sounds in American English is the "th" sound. This is likely due to the fact that the “th” phonemes are rare sounds, not found in most European and Asian languages. When we do not have a sound in our own language, the natural tendency to substitute a similar sound, such as “z,” “d” or “t.” Unfortunately, this has a big impact on accent, because the “th” sound is found in 20% of the 25 words we say the most in English. The most commonly used word, “the,” begins with this sound. So when we mispronounce “th,” it is very noticeable in everyday speech.
Common mispronunciations of this sound involve improper tongue placement. To make the “th” sound, the tip of the tongue needs to rest between the teeth. Try making the “th” sound by itself. First make the “quiet th,” (/θ/), as in the words “think” and “with.” Then add voicing to make voiced “th,” (/ð/), as in “that,” “them” and “those.”
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