Retired English Teacher
It's convincing my students that a) and b), below, have the same pronunciation that proves difficult, as students seem to have been conditioned to believe otherwise:
Your pronunciation tells me a little bit about your native language:
- It has complex consonants (CC), which is why you don't add schwa between the CCs (as do, say, Japanese speakers of English whose language does not permit CCs).
- It does not have dental /ð/, which is why you opt for the closest sound, labio-dental [v].
Saying "munce" is a real way out for me too
I like to speak fast in Russian so people ask me to slow down and I want to speak fast in English, but this th problem slows me down a little bit.
I'm gonna use clothes=close
BTW, sometimes I hear that some native speakers pronounce the th sound as /f/. What can you say about this?
We don't have phonemic schwas in Polish, that's true. (I think the record holder is "bezwzględny", which has a five-phoneme consonant cluster /zvzgl/.) But I don't understand how my pronunciation of this particular lets you guess it. Don't you pronounce "cloves" without a schwa too?
As for dental consonants, we don't have them. But again, I'm not sure how my pronunciation of "clothes" reveals this fact. I don't have any problem at all with /ð/ in most words. It's only diificult for me to pronounce in "clothes", as is for everybody I think...
I just now realized that lauralie2 meant the verb "close", not the adjective. What I wrote before pertains to the adjective.
But even the verb "close" has a different pronunciation than "clothes". They both end with a z sound, but "clothes" of course has the "th" sound in it's full pronunciation.
And I don't know why any English teacher would want to try to convince her students that the pronunciation of "clothes" and "close" is the same, when they are not the same.
Students "have been conditioned to believe" that there is a difference in the pronunciation of the two words because there is a difference.