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Thinner and Dinner.

I have problems pronouncing these two words.

To me they sound exactly the same; I do not know if the first should be pronounced like an f ("finner") or not.

Google Translate does not help me, so what are their correct pronunciations?

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    Here is a site with recordings and graphics which may be helpful. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 30 '13 at 20:07
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To pronounce thinner, place the tip of your tongue at the bottom of your front teeth, and expel air through your lips. For f, touch your lower lip to the bottom of your front teeth and expel air. Both sounds will have a hissing quality, but no voice. (With voice, the comparable sounds are th as in the and v as in very.)

The d in dinner is pronounced with the tongue just behind the top teeth, with voice; unvoiced, the sound with the tongue in that position is t, as in too.

Practice in front of a mirror if it helps.

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    Exactly. The distinction between a stop and a continuant might help, too. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 30 '13 at 20:08
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    @StoneyB: which distinction is... you can 'continue' to say 'th' as long as you want, and the 'd' you have to 'stop' at some point and go on with the rest of the word. – Mitch Jan 30 '13 at 20:34
  • @Mitch ... Or: a stop involves interrupting the flow of air, while a continuant just makes it difficult. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 30 '13 at 21:11
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I see in your profile that you are from Colombia, so a Spanish language example will help.

TH is pronounced the way Z sounds in Spain, and D sounds like D.


Clarifying: Although TH sometimes has the same sound as D in Spanish, in this particular case, the pronunciations of these two words are different: The D in Dinner sounds like the D in Diego.

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    The Spanish D often sounds just like the English TH in "the" (as opposed to the TH in "thin")--leading most native Spanish speakers I know to say "blooth", for instance (when trying to say "blood"). – Flimzy Jan 30 '13 at 20:20
  • Perhaps you can qualify which D sound you're talking about, and that will improve the answer? D as in Durango, for instance? – Flimzy Jan 30 '13 at 20:22
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    @Flimzy You are right. In this particular case, TH in Thinner is pronounced like Z in Spain, but D in Dinner is pronounced like D in Diego (for example) – Barranka Jan 30 '13 at 21:55
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    Actually, the Spanish D is a dental sound, while the English one is an alveolar one. The Spanish D is a fricative in most positions in a phrase, including, for example, in both instances of si Diego me dice algo. Put an L before it to fix this, as in El Dorado. That is now a stop instead of a fricative, but it is still dental not alveolar. – tchrist Mar 7 '13 at 19:38

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