F, V, and TH Sounds Diagram and Explanation

Sound Pairs

Lessons 3, 4, and 5 include the sound pairs. These are consonant sounds that are made in the same position, but with somewhat different pronunciations. Use this chart as your introduction. Then practice F, V, and TH below.

F and V Sounds

The F Sound: Create this sound by placing your upper teeth on your lower lip. Press down slightly and then open the jaw quickly. 

The V Sound: Place your upper teeth on your lower lip–the same as you did for F. But this time, breathe out. V is a vibrating sound. You should be able to hold the sound for several seconds. If that is difficult, you might be pressing your teeth too much–relax enough to let the air pass through, but continue to touch the lip to create the vibration. After holding the sound for a few seconds, you should feel a small sense of heat on your lower lip. 

F and V as Sound Pairs: These sounds do not interact with only two common exceptions. The simple word of sounds like uv. Also, the phrase have to is usually pronounced haftu. Other than that, the F and V sounds are distinct. An F spelling = an F sound, and a V spelling = a V sound.

TH Sounds

In American English, we have two sounds for TH, the regular, strong TH sound, and a soft, vibrating sound.

The Strong TH: Place the tip of your tongue underneath your upper teeth. Push the tongue off the teeth quickly. Your jaw will also open a little bit. 

The Soft TH: Place the tip of your tongue in the same position. Breathe out. Like the letter V, this is a vibrating sound. You should be able to hold out the sound for a couple of seconds. You will feel that small sense of heat on your tongue from the vibration. 

The soft TH is used in many of the very common words: the, this, that, there, these, those, than, then, though, they, other, mother, father, brother, together, and with. The strong TH is used with all other words such as think, method, month, enthusiasm, growth, thorough, and threat

Point of Interest: The verb breathe has a soft TH, and the noun breath has a strong TH. 

TH in the Plural

When words end in a TH, some people struggle to pronounce the TH+S combination in words like monthsstrengths, and myths. This only requires practice. You must move the tongue back quickly (like a snake) from the TH to the S position. Try not to tense the tongue because that will block your S sound.

How to Use the TH Sounds

If you want to perfect your TH sounds, reading aloud from a book is helpful. Use the TH to connect and create a soft, flowing rhythm on the very common words, like the and that. Even the strong TH is not a harsh sound but should be more distinct. After reading aloud from a book several times, concentrate on speaking with the correct TH sounds in your daily conversations.
750 Business WordsF,V, TH Main Page
* http://www.speakmethod.com is a part of I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, which holds the copyright to all materials. Subscribers may print images and pages for individual use, but not for commercial use or distribution. *

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