How to pronounce “Th” perfectly!

David Dickens è la mente (insieme a Emanuela Siano) di (Im)Perfect English, lo speciale di Speak Up, dove vi aiutiamo a rispolverare le nozioni fondamentali di inglese, compresa la pronuncia. In questo video, David ci spiega il terribile suono -th…

David Dickens (Standard British accent)

An Italian person has great difficulty pronouncing any words that begin – or have “TH” within them. And, again, I think it’s… it’s useful to understand the root (1) of that mistake and I think it’s… it’s clear why that mistake… the… the… what the root of that… of that issue (2) is, and it comes from the fact that… that in the Italian pronunciation that… that pronunciation doesn’t exist. They don’t need to make the “TH” sound in their language, so the action of putting your tongue out of your mouth and breathing over the top of your tongue between your teeth (3) – “th!” – which is what you have to do when you pronounce “TH” is not something they’re used to doing and so they find it very difficult to do, and so a lot of… a lot of “TH” sounds for an Italian comes (come – ed) out like an “F” or a “T.” Quite often probably it’s more “T,” actually (4), and so when they want to say the word “three” they say “tree” and so obviously that’s a very different word.

So you put your tongue not very far out (5). A lot of Italians think that the problem is is you have to put your tongue very far out but, you know, like this is not necessary. But just… just outside the teeth, close the teeth and breathe through your teeth: “th! th!” It’s… it’s, you know, for us it’s not… it’s… it’s not difficult to do, but it is difficult to do when you’re drunk (6) because when you’re drunk you tend to spit (7) a lot, so… so when you’re speaking very close (8) to someone, face to face, especially… you know, maybe a pretty lady that you’re trying to chat up (9), and you’ve had a bit too much to drink, you have to be careful not to spit in your… in her face! So…

(David Dickens was talking to Mark Worden)


1    the root: la radice
2    issue: problema
3    putting your tongue out of your mouth and breathing over the top of your tongue between your teeth: mettere la lingua fuori dalla bocca e respirare sopra la parte superiore della lingua tra i denti
4    actually: a dire il vero
5    not very far out: non molto lontano
6    when you’re drunk: quando sei ubriaco
7    spit: sputare
8    very close: molto vicino
9    chat up: rimorchiare

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