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  1. #1
    AirbusA321 is offline Banned
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    smooth

    I sometimes hear people pronounce the 'th' at the end of a word like an 'f'. E.g. in words like 'smooth'. Is that OK or poor style or maybe a regional dialect?

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: smooth

    In some British and African-American dialects, that /th/ is pronounced like /v/. In other words, "smooth" sounds like smoove.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
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    Re: smooth

    I don't think anybody anywhere would pronounce smooth with a /f/. However, some will pronounce it with a /v/.

    It's not right to consider a natural way of pronouncing as "poor style".

  4. #4
    AirbusA321 is offline Banned
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    Re: smooth

    Since a moderator has blocked my 'thank' and 'like' function, I'd like to say 'thanks' for your replies.
    @jutfrank: I'm only used to hearing standard American and Philippine English, so I wasn't aware that it's a natural way. Only heard it a few times in music videos or so.

  5. #5
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    Re: smooth

    Some people pronounce a hard "th" as a "v" (with = wiv) and a soft "th" as an "f" (tooth = toof). For a minority of those people, it's an actual speech impediment - they physically can't make the "th" sound. For the rest, it's hard to say. In the south of England, it can be seen as a sign of a lack of education or that someone is of a lower class (I'm not suggesting at all that that's the case but some people perceive it as such).

    Airbus, your "Thank" and "Like" buttons might be invisible at the moment because all your posts are going through moderation.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
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    Re: smooth

    I use the /v/ sound in words like smooth and with in my most natural speech and I'm very well-educated.

    I suspect that people who would take this as a sign that I'm not well-educated are perhaps not well enough educated themselves.

  7. #7
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    Re: smooth

    It's not uncommon to hear young children who are still learning to talk pronounce 'th' as 'f'. You'll hear 'smoof', 'toof/teef', 'baf' and similar.

    Dental fricatives can be challenging enough, but are especially problematic when you're missing or still growing the necessary teeth (hence the 'dental' part).
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: smooth

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I use the /v/ sound in words like smooth and with in my most natural speech and I'm very well-educated.

    I suspect that people who would take this as a sign that I'm not well-educated are perhaps not well enough educated themselves.
    I don't doubt your level of education at all but, out of curiosity, can you actually pronounce the "th" sound "correctly" (I can't think of a better way of putting it) when you try?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: smooth

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I suspect that people who would take this as a sign that I'm not well-educated are perhaps not well enough educated themselves.
    In the UK, they would be snobs, not intellectuals.

  10. #10
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    Re: smooth

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I don't doubt your level of education at all but, out of curiosity, can you actually pronounce the "th" sound "correctly" (I can't think of a better way of putting it) when you try?
    Yes, I can. I tend to use the /v/ and /f/ for 'th' only when in the company of others who do the same. I grew up in a lower-class London (Souf London, in fact) environment. I rarely speak in this way nowadays as most of the people I mix with come from different regions and social backgrounds, but occasionally I meet somebody with whom it feels right to speak to in this way.

    I believe that the way a person speaks is very much a part of their identity, which, although far from rigid, and tremendously complex, is essentially rooted in the social group to which one feels one belongs. (That's what I meant by "my most natural speech".)

    Of course, when I'm in the classroom I speak with the most utterly flawless RP.

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