I had a hard time trying this. I have known that I should bite my tounge when I pronounce "th". This sometimes goes well with words like "thick". However, every time I try to say "those", Siri will recognise my "th" as "v", which is a bit frustrating.

This is my voice: https://clyp.it/hfg0ujqo It is almost like "fick"!

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    There are numerous sites offering advice on how to pronounced th, including this one: pronuncian.com/pronounce-th-sounds Aug 1 '18 at 15:27
  • I wish I could be there to hear you, because it's hard for me to imagine how you could put your tongue between your teeth and make a V sound! But my advice would be that if you can make the th sound in thick, for the sound in those, try shaping your mouth the same way, but instead of blowing air out past your tongue, try making a buzzing, nasal sound, almost as if you were making a z or n sound.
    – stangdon
    Aug 1 '18 at 17:15
  • If you want us to listen, you can record audio on clyp.it or vocaroo.com Aug 1 '18 at 17:53
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    Be warned that there are two "th" sounds: voiced and unvoiced. The one in "thick" is the unvoiced one, while "those" has the voiced one. That is why tricks which work with "thick" (like biting your tongue) don't work with "those".
    – Mr Lister
    Aug 1 '18 at 20:07
  • If you're making a /v/ sound, possibly your lips are too close together. That seems to be the only way I can make a /v/ sound with my tongue between my teeth. Aug 4 '18 at 11:22

I don't think biting your bottom lip will help you pronounce "th". Try this instead:

  • Close your mouth most of the way so that your teeth are touching the tip of your tongue, top and bottom. Your tongue should be barely in front of your teeth or even just behind your teeth if that feels more natural.
  • Let your lips stay apart a little bit; just whatever is most comfortable
  • Try to push air out between your top teeth and your tongue. When I do this I notice that the sides of my tongue curl up just a little.
  • Continue on to whatever vowel sound you need to make next.

I'm not great at explaining this, but this video is probably more helpful than a written answer anyway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5LO0hHGfQg

  • Sorry, I should have typed my tounge rather than my lip. It is a mistake. I have followed the general advice but I often end up with a "v" sound. Especially for words like " those" and "these".
    – user79929
    Aug 1 '18 at 15:40
  • Make sure your tongue is physically touching the back of your teeth when you start pushing air out.
    – Daniel
    Aug 1 '18 at 15:43

I just tried this and i have my tongue resting on my top teeth only, teeth less than 1 finger width apart

this is a funny page that illustrates this much better https://elenafoulkes.com/2016/08/09/how-to-understand-the-sounds-english-speakers-make-the-mysterious-case-of-the-disappearing-r/

Unfortunately the important part is a cartoon which i can't copy to here. It is entitled lesson 72, how to pronounce the th sound. It is at the top of the page.

  • Sorry, I don't get which picture is what you referred to.
    – user79929
    Aug 1 '18 at 16:15

I find that many non-native speakers manage to set up properly for the th-sounds, but don't maintain enough tension or aren't able to move to the next sound quickly enough for fluent speech. The only difference between thin and this is the voice, i. e., the same as between d,t; g,k; f,v; s,z; etc. Nothing else changes.

Think of a snake's quickly darting tongue. In front of a mirror without adding air or voice, practice moving the tip of your tongue just between your teeth and the rapidly back again. Then add the air each time you make the darting motion. Make sure when you add voice that nothing else changes.

Finally, practice both th-sounds with all vowels and diphthongs as well as the thr-sound.

  • I seem to be like those who have problems moving to the next sound. I am sure I set out correctly but end up with a "f" or "v" sound just like my uploaded voice clip.
    – user79929
    Aug 2 '18 at 12:31
  • The th-sounds sre not labial; f and v are. Your tongue sounds too far out and not tense enough. Practice the "snake" movement until you master it, then go on to the next steps. Use a mirror and concentrate on retracting your tongue quickly.
    – KarlG
    Aug 2 '18 at 14:20

I just came across this page comparing the production of unvoiced-th with various other sounds. This describes how to produce the th sound much more clearly than many:

Podcast: 221: Compare 'unvoiced th' to /f/, /s/, and /t/

it is very likely that you were told to put your tongue between your front teeth and to push air out. Okay… that will work, but nearly all of my students find that creating the 'th sounds' in that way is actually much harder than keeping your tongue inside your mouth. To create the sounds with your tongue inside your mouth, use the tip of your tongue and the back side of your top front teeth.

... Say the 'unvoiced th’ by very lightly pressing the tip of your tongue into the back of your top front teeth. Keep the touch very light because you need to push air between your tongue and teeth to create the sound: (unvoiced th).

(I know your question was about voiced th, but this may help get started! Here is an article on voiced vs unvoiced consonants.)

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