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To think i don't have a speech impediment

(286 Posts)
McColonel Sun 20-Dec-15 23:53:24

To me, F and TH are pronounced exactly the same. E.g. three and free - I say them in exactly the same way.

My wife says I can't pronounce th, and I always pronounce an F when it should be TH.

Does anyone agree with me, that they are pronounced the same? Or is she right, and I can't speak properly? My brother agrees with me.

Ikeatears Sun 20-Dec-15 23:55:10

They're two different sounds. Ds has a name that begins Th and I'd hate it pronounced with an f. Can you hear the difference when other people say f and th?

MunchMunch Sun 20-Dec-15 23:55:11

Your dw is right.

LineyReborn Sun 20-Dec-15 23:56:55

Can you say 'the'?

Feefifofam Sun 20-Dec-15 23:57:09

In the nicest possible way, you're saying "three" wrong if you say it the same as "free".

Does it bother you? Could you look into getting someone to help you with your pronunciation?

whatdoIget Sun 20-Dec-15 23:57:50

Is it your accent? It's the same sound in some accents, manc and cockney for example

CrazyOldBagLady Sun 20-Dec-15 23:57:58

So you pronounce 'There' like 'Fair'?

ButterflyUpSoHigh Sun 20-Dec-15 23:58:22

They are completely different sounds.

ladygracie Sun 20-Dec-15 23:58:54

Oh we have this exact argument constantly in my house. They are different sounds. Watch your wife's mouth when she says Thor & four. It will look different. I taught my 12 yr old son to pronounce it correctly this summer but he still isn't convinced there's a difference.

FishWithABicycle Sun 20-Dec-15 23:59:20

It can depend on your accent, but in RP a th sound is made with the lips completely clear of teeth and tongue and the tongue resting a tiny fraction below the front upper teeth with breath aspirating between front upper teeth and tongue, whereas an f is pronounced without the tongue involved, the top teeth rest on the lower lip and the aspiration is between teeth and lip. The sound is discernably different.

The failure to make the sounds differently isn't a speech impediment if you were just never taught.

WanderingNotLost Sun 20-Dec-15 23:59:22

I'm with your DW on this one, sorry! Do you do the same with 'th' and 'v'? As in uvver instead of other etc?

ProcrastinatorGeneral Sun 20-Dec-15 23:59:41

'F' as a sound is made by passing air through your upper teeth being pressed against your lower lip

'Th' is made by placing your tongue against the top teeth and the air passing through that gap.

Totally different. Your wife is right. Sorry.

ladygracie Sun 20-Dec-15 23:59:51

Actually it's not the same argument as we only argue about Thor and four.

ProcrastinatorGeneral Mon 21-Dec-15 00:00:26

Cross posted with Fish.

LucyBabs Mon 21-Dec-15 00:00:48

I'm sure it's just your accent op Where is your wife from?
I say three like tree and free well Free wink

Feefifofam Mon 21-Dec-15 00:00:53

Is this a reverse? Not being mean but I think it may be.

cuntycowfacemonkey Mon 21-Dec-15 00:01:12

Your wife is right sorry. Completely different sounds and you make a different shape/movement with your mouth

AbbyCadabra Mon 21-Dec-15 00:01:28


Reminds me of my grandad singing Forty Fousand Fevvers on a Frush...

McColonel Mon 21-Dec-15 00:02:39

I can hear the difference when she demonstrates but she massively exaggerates it to make it obvious to me. Sticks her tongue between her teeth and draws it back into her mouth as she makes the "th" sound.

In day to day life I've never noticed a difference....

Doesn't bother me in the slightest, just interests me...

BackforGood Mon 21-Dec-15 00:05:16

Your wife is right about the pronunciation, but it's not usually a speech impediment, just what's known as 'lazy speech'.

'f' is said with your top teeth closing down towards the outside of your bottom lip

'th' is said with your tongue touching the inside of your top, front teeth

CharleyDavidson Mon 21-Dec-15 00:05:31

I don't teach in an area where this is a dialect, but it is a habit.

Lots of parents don't correct their children or teach them the difference (either because they say it the same way, or because they think the child will grow out of it naturally or because they don't really hear the difference), so they say the same sound for the th and f.

Taken to the extreme, some children then struggle to spell some words correctly because they don't use the different sounds for the different letter sounds.

One child I taught even said this, that, there with a f/v sound.

If you find it easy to say the th sound, but don't choose to use it and instead fall into the habit of saying f instead, then it's not a speech impediment, but a bad habit.

finetonive Mon 21-Dec-15 00:06:56

This is a windup right?
Surely by adulthood you should know by now that fr and th are two completely different sounds.

Do you find it difficult to get your tongue in the correct position to make a th sound?
If yes, then maybe you do have a slight speech impediment.

CastaDiva Mon 21-Dec-15 00:07:47

I wouldn't call it a speech impediment because there are accents, like traditional Cockney, which don't distinguish between the two, but yes, they are two different sounds in standard English. Pronouncing 'th' as 'f' is called 'th fronting'.

Morganly Mon 21-Dec-15 00:07:49

Where do you come from? This could just be a regional accent. I'm guessing London, Essex or East Anglia.

People don't say that people from Ireland are wrong if they pronounce three and tree the same way, though some prejudiced people may judge or mock.

McColonel Mon 21-Dec-15 00:09:10

Yeah, i pronounce thor and four exactly the same. I wanted to call our son thor (not seriously but i do think it's a cool name) but she says we can't because i can't pronounce it. Same with theo. She says "It's not "Feo", it's "Theo"!"

Other and uvva - not thought about that but yes, i would pronounce them the same.

Not there and fair though. I'd pronounce there with a "v" not and "f". Vere (pronounced as in the start of variable)

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