I found that is quite hard to pronunce phrases with one word ends with /θ/ and the next word start with /s/, for example "death stranding", so I was wondering, how to linguists/native speakers pronunce the phase fast, should I skip or reduce the /θ/ sound of the first word?

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    I can't think why anyone would need to speak the collocation death stranding, but certainly the Star Wars franchise would hardly have made so much of the Death Star if their (primarily, native Anglophone) target audience couldn't pronounce it! Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 12:57
  • @FumbleFingers Death Stranding is the name of a video game.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 12:58
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    @ColleenV: Your range of interests continues to intrigue me! :) Personally, I'm an extremely "lazy" speaker, so it's DEFF-STAR for me (if I bother to articulate anything at all for the final consonant of the first word; often it's little more than a slight pause / hiatus before /st/). But because "the death star" is a familiar collocation to me, that's usually what I'll "hear" from a range of speakers with potentially wildly different articulations. But until now, if I'd heard someone say "death stranding", I might ask them to repeat it before I was sure exactly what words were being spoken! Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 13:20
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    (That's to say, my "death star" might actually come out as DESS-TAR from a "careful" listener's perspective! :) Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 13:23
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    @ColleenV: Re "emphasize whatever sylLABle suits me" - after nearly 50 years of gaining virtually zero support for my obviously misguided distinction, I've eventually had to concede that to almost every other Anglophone, there's only CATHlic, which is both an adjective and a noun. As a teenager I became convinced there should be an adjective cathOLic (meaning "universal", nothing to do with religion), along the lines of (noun) arITHmetic and (adjective) arithMETic. But thanks to my decade of puttering around on ELL and ELU, I've eventually had to wise up and concede defeat on that one! :) Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


You just pronunce the two sounds, to do so you retract your tongue to blend from one consonant to the next. You keep the air moving throughout the blend. These two sounds can form a bit of a tongue twister, especially if you don't have (the globally rare) /θ/ sound in your language.

In fast speech the blend does tend to be reduced, especially if the sounds occur next to each other in one word and combined with other voiceless consonants In an extreme case, in "sixths" the /θ/ does tend to get deleted resulting in /sɪkss/. In separate words, as in your example, the deletion is not common.

  • Hi James, nice to see you here (I thought you are only active on astronomy SE before). So I watched this video before youtu.be/ChZJ1Q3GSuI, in the video, he said that for a word ends with an consonant and the next word starts with a consonant, the first consonant usually get dropped. e.g, "black coffee" sounds like "blac coffee", so I was wondering will the same applied here. Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 14:18

Native English speakers would not normally have any difficulty pronouncing this, and would not skip anything. Saying "death stranding" is not really any different from saying the plural "deaths".

"Death Stranding" is the name of a video game - you can hear a native American English speaker say it in this video, an Australian speaker say it here, and a British English speaker say it here.

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