Accent training: ‘th’ sound exercises
Well, let me first say that in my opinion, having the accent of a non-native English speaker is NOT a problem. There are about 500 million native English speakers in the world and around 1 billion non-native speakers. So actually, there are far more people in the world who speak English with a ‘foreign’ accent, rather than a ‘proper’ accent.
However, if you want to soften your accent there are some basic exercises that you can do to help reduce you mother-tongue accent when you are speaking English.
Here’s a video of a comedian from Glasgow, Kevin Bridges having an accent reduction session. For English people, the regional accent from Glasgow is sometimes very difficult to understand.
As you will see, he has problems with the ‘th’ sound, which is also a big problem for lots of other nationalities.
‘Th’ sound pronunciation exercises
One of the most difficult sounds to pronounce in English is the /θ/ sound (as in thing, think, mathematics, truth, month)
How do you make the /θ/ sound?
This is a dental sound which means that you sound it by using your teeth (as well as your tongue).
Make the front of your tongue have light contact with the with the back of your top, front teeth… or your tongue tip can come out a little bit between your upper and lower teeth (click on the diagram). Blow out and let the air pass through your teeth and tongue. Don’t use your voice.
If you need more help, click on this link. Then click FRICATIVE and finally on the /θ/ symbol.
Practice Sentences for ‘th’ sound:
Listen to how I say the sentences slow and then fast and say the sentences out loud, trying to copy my pronunciation.
1. I was thirsty after thirty-three therapy sessions in Thirsk
2. On Thursday I threw myself through several therapeutic thoughts
3. She thinks she has finished her thirteen-month thesis about three-D movies in theatres.