I'm Italian and I have a pronunciation problem with the sound "ght". How could I pronounce it properly?

I have a problem to pronounce this sound in the word "laughter" and other words like that.

  • 1
    The ght in laughter are two sounds. It is not one unit. It is laugh - ter. Thus, laf-ter. Easy. In other words, ght might be one unit, but the gh is often silent, as in "Silent Night" -> Silent Nite (long i), no sound from the gh. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


Take the word 'gira-ffe' - the ffe sound

Take the word 'tap' - the 't' sound

add them together and that is how you pronounce ght in laughter.

Hardly a technical answer, but hopefully it's practical for you.

Also if you are looking for help practicing those sounds, you would be better looking for just 'gh' as that is a much more popular phonetic sound.

  • That's great, my pleasure!
    – Gary
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:07
  • 7
    Unless you are talking about your bright daughter about her rights when she wants to wear tights to play a knight.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 14:33

It really depends on the word - and to a certain extent on the English dialect/accent.

For "laughter", it pretty much sounds like an "f": "lafter"

For many other words, like "daughter, "thought", it's basically silent. You could say it's elongating the preceding vowel sounds a bit, with some aspiration of air before the 't'.

  • 4
    I've never seen any phonetic analysis that supports the idea that the "gh" in daughter and thought is anything but completely silent. No lengthening of the vowel compared to plain "au," and no extra aspiration before the "t." In other words, they are aurally indistinguishable from hypothetical words spelled "dauter" and "thaut."
    – sumelic
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:06
  • I'm sure there's an explanation out there from linguists as to whether it used to play a role in pronounciation before, and now 'gh' remains as some sort of linguistic fossil. All I meant with the elongation and aspiration was a pronounciation tip for the Italian question asker. The 'au' and 'ou' in those examples are stressed and the 't' sound is not so hard or dry as it would be in italian (or german or french).
    – neotryte
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 11:30
  • Actually, when I pronounce 'daughter' with an American accent, it sounds rather like a 'd':'dauder' (e.g. I pronounce the words 'ladder' and 'latter' the same), and many British dialects just do a glottal stop for t when it's in the middle of a word. 't' pronounciation merits its own analysis!
    – neotryte
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 11:31
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    @sumelic Indeed, the real words 'taut' and 'taught' are pronounced identically.
    – Nefrubyr
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 14:27
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    @neotryte Yep, it's a fossil caused by English getting its spellings standardised (more-or-less) in the middle of the language undergoing major pronunciation shifts. gh is pronounced in Middle English the way ch is pronounced in modern German: a sort of quick rattling/popping “hh” sound made in the back of the throat. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 15:55

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