Posted by Grant Richardson, 6th February, 2016
‘Th’ has two possible sounds – one unvoiced (e.g. “thumb”, “both“) represented by /θ/; the other voiced (e.g. there, breathe) represented by /ð/.
Practice saying these words:
Cantonese native speakers must be careful not to replace /θ/ with /f/:
And not to replace /ð/ with /d/ or /v/, depending on whether the ‘th’ is at the beginning or end of the syllable:
Native speakers of many other languages, including Mandarin, might sometimes incorrectly use /s/ for /θ/, and /z/ for /ð/:
For both ‘th’ sounds (voiced /ð/ and unvoiced /θ/), the tongue sits between the top and bottom teeth for both sounds. The bottom lip may touch the bottom of the tip of the tongue.