How to Join ‘th’ Sounds.


‘th’ Joining & Why it’s Important.

on Saturday I taught a class of 8 advanced speakers and pronouncers of English, they could all repeat both ‘th’ sounds with no problem (/θ/ as in ‘think’ and /ð/ as in ‘those’).  Nearly all of the students would, however, make an error when speaking normally, and the ‘th’ sounds would be mispronounced as some kind of alveolar or dental plosive. A huge number of advanced speakers make this error, but there is a simple trick to avoid it as follows.

What’s the problem?

the problem arises if one of the alveolar sounds /t, d, l, n/ appear directly before a dental sound /θ, ð/. Why? Because the tongue is out of position, it is impossible to go from the alveolar ridge to the teeth in no time, so the speaker makes their ‘th’ sound in the wrong place.

How to avoid a pronunciation error.

avoiding the error is technically very simple – you simply make the previous alveolar consonant on the teeth. To demonstrate, compare the following examples:

nine /naɪn/ ninth /naɪnθ/ – the underlined ‘n’ would be dental.
blood /blʌd/ bloodthirsty /blʌdθɜ:sti/ – the underlined ‘d’ would be dental.

This also occurs when joining words together:

in /ɪn/, in the /ɪn ðə/
did /dɪd/, dɪd they /dɪd ðeɪ/


in class on Saturday we used the following sentences and looked for at least two examples of alveolar consonants becoming dental in each sentence:

    1. Aren’t the residents unhealthy living in that pollution?
    2. It’s hard to succeed in the cutthroat world of the media.
    3. Did the internet suffer a loss of bandwidth this morning?
    4. I think they should ban the wealthiest from attending.
    5. For the thousandth time Katie, join the leads together.
    6. ‘Heartthrob’ we used to call him, although he’s lost his looks now.
    7. Well it’s true that synthetic materials were all the rage.
    8. We were happy, but then her misanthrope got in the way.
    9. Do you think that the national anthem is appropriate?
    10. What the hell are you doing drinking absinth?

You can listen to the sentences here:

‘th’ joining is covered in class 1 on Pronunciation Studio’s Level 2 Advanced Pronunciation course.

Christmas Presents


Christmas Presence by Pronunciation Studio

It’s that time of year again, and aside from the obvious jokes around the homophones ‘presents’ and ‘presence’, Pronunciation Studio have a variety of gift ideas ideal for linguistic minded souls.

All of our Christmas gifts come with a 30 day guarantee starting 25th December, so if the recipient does not want the present, whether it is a course, voucher or book, it can be returned in January for a full refund. 

Book Gift

Course Book ‘The Sound of English’ + 3CDs & Free P&P to UK – £20

Course Vouchers

All voucher gifts include ‘The Sound of English’ course book + 3CDs with free UK postage. The recipient can spend the vouchers on any Pronunciation Studio course or return them in January for a full refund.

1. £50 Course Vouchers (eg assessment)
2. £150 Course Vouchers (eg 2 day intensive)
3. £250 Course Vouchers (eg 16 hour group)
4. £525 Course Vouchers (eg 10 hour individual)
5. £640 Course Vouchers (eg full 64 hour 4 course group program)
5. £995 Course Vouchers (eg 20 hour individual)

Course Gifts

All course gifts include the course book ‘The Sound of English’ + 3CDs which can be delivered with free p&p to UK addresses, or can be given at the beginning of the course. Course prices are as listed in our winter sale for courses bought in December and starting in 2014.

Individual Courses in London

1. 60 minute individual assessment class £45.00
2. 5 Hour  Course – £265
3. 10 Hour Course – £470
4. 15 Hour Course – £690
5. 20 Hour Course – £895

Individual Courses via Skype (include ‘The Sound of English’ download if outside UK)

1. 60 minute individual assessment class £40.00
2. 5 Hour  Course – £180
3. 10 Hour Course – £340
4. 15 Hour Course – £480
5. 20 Hour Course – £600

Group Courses (include ‘The Sound of English’ + 3CDs)

If you are not sure which course to buy, this can be decided by the recipient in January.

8 week / 16 hour courses – £200 (normally £250)

12 hour weekend intensive course – £120 (normally £150)

30 hour 5 day weekday course – £240 (normally £300)

How to Purchase

All of our gifts are available to purchase by e-mail, telephone or in person at school. They can be paid in cash, by card, or online via Paypal. Please contact us stating which gift you would like to purchase and any further details required for us to deliver the present.

How to pronounce ‘have’.


The 5 pronunciations of ‘have’.

Number 3 in our top 5 most difficult one syllable words is ‘have’.

What’s the problem?

It looks simple enough, but hidden under the surface are many potential errors for the unprepared speaker! In fact there are 5 pronunciations of ‘have’ depending on its position, usage and subject:

1. /hæv/
This is the obvious pronunciation of ‘have’, but is in fact only used when it is a content word (main verb), like in ‘I’ll have a shower’, or ‘Do you have any money?’.

2. /həv/

This is ‘have’ when it is an unstressed auxiliary verb at the beginning of a sentence, like in ‘Have you seen the time?’, or ‘Have they finished?”. Ensure the vowel sound is weak schwa /ə/ when pronouncing this.

3. /əv/

This is ‘have’ when it is an unstressed auxiliary verb when not appearing at the beginning, like in ‘What have you done?’ or ‘The police have been here’. Notice that previous word will join onto this syllable as it starts with a vowel.

4. /hæf/
When ‘have’ is a modal obligation verb, it is pronounced with voiceless /f/ instead of /v/ like in ‘I have to go to work’ or ‘Her students have to work harder’.

5. /v/
After the pronouns ‘I’, ‘we’, or ‘they’, have is often contracted to simply /v/ when it is an auxiliary verb, like in ‘I’ve finished’ or ‘They’ve told us already’.

What happens if I get it wrong?

Mispronouncing ‘have’ will not normally cause misunderstanding, but it can stand out as a pronunciation error, most noticeably when Slavic and Latin speakers replace (or add) the sound /χ/ instead of /h/. In order to achieve fluent connected speech it is essential that learners of English master ‘have’ due to its frequency.

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