Singing Consonants: Trying a TH - dummies

Singing Consonants: Trying a TH

By Pamelia S. Phillips

Singing consonants distinctly requires proper shaping. One special consonant sound, TH, is made with the tip of the tongue and can be voiced or unvoiced. Unlike the other tip consonants, the TH is made with the tongue tip touching the edge of the upper front teeth instead of the alveolar ridge.

In the following table, the first column uses a voiced TH sound, and the second column uses an unvoiced TH sound. Practice saying the words in the table. While shaping the TH in the table, take note that your

  • Tongue’s tip is touching your bottom front teeth and then moving to touch your upper front teeth.

  • Lips may move to shape the vowel sound following the TH.

For American English, the TH sound requires air to move over the tongue. If American English isn’t your first language, you may confuse the TH sound with D because the TH sound doesn’t exist in every language.

To make the TH specific, put the tip of the tongue against the teeth and blow a little air. The voiced TH sound has the sound of the voice plus air moving. That is different from a D sound, which temporarily stops the flow of air.

Practicing TH
Voiced TH Unvoiced TH
this theater
the thin
brother tenth