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  1. #1
    Catia VF Guest

    Default TH voiced and voiceless?

    If a word is new for me and I have to pronounce it, how can I know if the TH sound is voiced or voiceless when I do not have a dictionary?
    Is there any rule?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: TH voiced and voiceless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catia VF View Post
    If a word is new for me and I have to pronounce it, how can I know if the TH sound is voiced or voiceless when I do not have a dictionary?
    Is there any rule?
    Thanks
    Most function words - determiners, pronouns - have voiced 'th' eth/edh :
    the, these, those, that, though, there, their, they're
    There are exceptions: through ...

    Most verbs and nouns have voiceless 'TH' theta θ:
    n. theatre, theocracy, thing, thought
    v. throw, think, throttle, thwart
    ere are probably some obvious exceptions at I can't θink of right now.

  3. #3
    bds51 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: TH voiced and voiceless?

    Hello Catia,
    There are a couple of rules but unless you know Latin and German well they won't help. The simplest rule is when -th is at the beginning, middle, or end of a word, it is usually voiceless. In other words, except for the 15 most used 'th' words in English, if you're going to guess, then pronounce the th as voiceless. However, it's always better to check a dictionary. bdsenglishniche.com

  4. #4
    cardboard is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: TH voiced and voiceless?

    Try sticking out your tongue, using both upper and lower teeths touching your tongue and blow it. If you do it correctly then I think you will be able to produce the "TH" sound..?

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: TH voiced and voiceless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Most function words - determiners, pronouns - have voiced 'th' eth/edh :
    the, these, those, that, though, there, their, they're
    There are exceptions: through ...

    Most verbs and nouns have voiceless 'TH' theta θ:
    n. theatre, theocracy, thing, thought
    v. throw, think, throttle, thwart
    ere are probably some obvious exceptions at I can't θink of right now.
    This works for initial 'th-', except for fairly recent foreign borrowings like th-dansant. In fact if you asked a native speaker to read some nonsense that 'should' exercise these rules, like 'This is a thrap' (or indeed 'This is very thrap' or 'This is moving very thraply' - as the rule works for adjectives and adverbs too) I'd be very surprised if the second was voiced. 'This is a...' introduces a noun, and nouns have initial /θ/ .

    b

  6. #6
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    Default Re: TH voiced and voiceless?

    'th' at the end of a word is 'TH' theta θ:
    breath, width, sixth, heath, wreath, bath ...

    'the' at the end of a word is 'th' eth
    breathe, lathe, bathe ...

    'ther' is almost always eth
    father, mother, feather, weather, whither, leather, other, bother
    Exceptions: ether, Mather.

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