Recently, my teenage daughter returned perplexed from a shopping trip having purchased two additional items she didn’t want. Originally there was one item in her basket – some face wipes. When she got to the till, the girl kindly shared the phenomenal news that although my daughter had just one packet of face wipes, she could take advantage of a deal as it’s “free for two”! A freebie? What a result thought my daughter! So she ran off, picked up the additional pack of free wipes, and beaming, took it back to the generous girl at the till. She looked at my darling smiling daughter blankly “No! It’s free for two! FREE! You’ve only got two. You need to get a fird to make it up to free!”…..ah right. Bingo.
So my young daughter bought the third item; too embarrassed to explain the confusion and went on her way, lighter of a few quid.
This my friends is what we in the voice world call TH fronting, when both th sounds( θ & ð aspirate and voiced) are substituted by /f/ or sometimes /v/. It’s currently the most widespread issue I’ve come across.
First of all – I would much rather hear one hundred confident teens talk and repeatedly make is error than have a room full of teens who are self conscious, cautious of making a mistake and clam up.
If however do you wish to make an attempt to correct it , read on.
I begin by asking the student to place their tongue lightly behind or between their upper & bottom teeth ridge, ensuring that there is a gap between the top and bottom teeth to allow the breath to escape. Then place the finger on the lower lip and don’t allow it (the lip) to creep up.
Start with words that have /th/ in the initial position. Three, think, thirty
Keep the lip down during the /th/ part of the word . This is an exercise you should reserve for the privacy of your own home.
If you’re finding this difficult, try eliminating the th words that are followed immediately with /r/ as the quick tongue repositioning can be challenging. Go back to words like think, thought, third etc.
Attempt just one or two words a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Practise in front of a mirror or record a video o your mobile.
Moving on to trickier words – brother, mother, three hundred and thirty three (3333, 33333 and so on)
Eventually, you can work up to attempt these:
Frances has a First, Francis has a thirst
Philip fought, while Philippa thought
This useful thread is free. This youthful Fred is three.
Also, life is short. In the end it’s the kindness behind the words we speak that actually count, so does this really matter?
Somefing to fink about…
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