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Saying F instead of TH

(62 Posts)
jarralass Thu 28-Apr-11 19:55:14


I was just looking at some recent messages, and there was one about speech, and it got me thinking the number of times my DH and I correct our son for not saying TH. Example, one, two, free.......frow the ball....

Yet he says "with" no problem and Thursday ok. Anyone had similar issue, and does it just stop or will he always say it?


Elibean Thu 28-Apr-11 20:09:36

dd1 is pretty much the same. 7 years old, Y2 - she has always had problems making the sound at the beginning of a word, she just can't do it. Will watch your thread with interest!

(dd2 has a problem with 's', and none with 'th' hmm....just for variety!)

Jaspants Thu 28-Apr-11 20:13:17

We had the opposite where DS deliberately started using F instead of TH when he can say it properly - hope he is just trying to fit in and that it will pass

PanicOnTheStreetsOfLondon Thu 28-Apr-11 20:15:23

Also watching with interest. DT1 does this but his twin doesn't do it all. DT1 can say it properly if I correct him, but he really has to concentrate to do it.

I find its a real problem with spellings, he knows that some words like 'the' t start with a th but when he comes across more difficult words he always goes for 'f' or 'v' ie teef or wiv.

I have wondered whether he needs speach therapy or elocution lessons!

sageygirl Thu 28-Apr-11 20:22:51

How old are your DCs? My DD is nearly 5 and often says f instead of th. She calls her child minder Beff instead of Beth. She often says duh instead of the. Hopefully they will all grow out of it at some stage. She can make the proper sounds if reminded. We're not at the spelling stage yet so haven't experienced that.

Hassled Thu 28-Apr-11 20:27:12

It's very very common. DS3 has verbal Dyspraxia - his speech is (most of the time) pretty sorted now, but he cannot differentiate between TH and F. When I raised this as a problem, the SALT said that lots of children without speech disorders would be having the same problem at his age.

But when you notice, correct him. TH has the tongue poking out between the teeth, a different mouth shape for F - get him to work out which it should be, and he'll start to hear the difference more.

Elibean Thu 28-Apr-11 20:41:45

That's helpful, Hassled, thanks. dd is 7.5, and her teacher has asked about it recently - it does interfere with some of her spellings, which are otherwise naturally pretty good. She has always said 'duh' instead of 'the', and as she's bilingual (French/English) we always thought it was a French accent - but now I think its more than that. Will start addressing it, I think, gently.

2BoysTooLoud Thu 28-Apr-11 20:42:27

I think I may still do this sometimes.. blush.

Portoeufino Thu 28-Apr-11 20:44:29

My 7 yo does this when spelling words phonetically that she doesn't know. I blame my southern accent. She too is bilingual french/english. We had friends to visit and were trying to decipher "Maffiou" It was Matthew....blush

mrz Thu 28-Apr-11 20:45:46

I've just had a 23 year old final year teaching student who says "fing" and "fink" and "mouf" so it won't necessarily go away without support.

supadupacreameggscupa Thu 28-Apr-11 20:47:39

My husband always says v instead of th. you hardly notice, but when you do it's really annoying (he talks a bit posh so most people don't notice haha)

jarralass Thu 28-Apr-11 20:57:45

Thanks for your replies, we constantly pull DS (6 years, Yr 1) up for his F instead of TH, but doesn't seem to click. Will keep going though.....

Elibean Thu 28-Apr-11 21:16:44

Just tried talking to dd about it - she got very defensive to start with ('I don't WANT to say 'th', its SPITTY' grin) but then said 'th' without any trouble at all, and surprised herself and ended up laughing. I was relieved to see she could, in fact, pronounce it - clearly just a habit, so will start working on it.

Thanks smile

crazycarol Thu 28-Apr-11 23:07:48

My 52 yr dh is a cockney and does this, apparantly has done it all his life. DD sometimes copies him but in jest rather than by accident.

blackeyedsusan Thu 28-Apr-11 23:51:11

average development, th by 5 1/2 and all sounds by 7 1/2, according to the leaflet I got from the speech therapist.

blackeyedsusan Thu 28-Apr-11 23:54:14

thr is different from th followed by a vowel. they are listed separately in the leaflet.

blackeyedsusan Thu 28-Apr-11 23:56:57

Jarralass, the speech therapist suggests it is better to model (repeat) the word correctly "yes, throw the ball" rather than trying to get them to say it correctly.

mathanxiety Fri 29-Apr-11 00:04:03

Agree with Blackeyedsusan -- Correction just becomes annoying for a child if it happens all the time. It's not going to help and will just add to everyone's frustration levels. Don't be so anxious, and model the correct pronunciation very clearly when you speak.

Maryz Fri 29-Apr-11 00:05:31

Doesn't it depend on whether it is actually a difficulty in making the "th" sound, or whether it is a "regional accent".

Many of the lapses my children have "in" instead of "ing" being the most noticeable one, I pull them up on. I presume if I keep trying they will eventually "speak properly" grin. If they genuinely had difficulty with the sound I would deal with it differently.

I'm Irish, by the way, and one of my pet hates is the word throat pronounced "trouth". FFS, if you can say both the t sound and the th sound, why get them reversed so consistently confused.

Valpollicella Fri 29-Apr-11 00:06:13

Very interesting thread - thanks all.

seeker Fri 29-Apr-11 00:09:44

Don;t correct - model.

And rememebr that it might be a regional thing that he's learning from froends at school - myu ds wrote a birthday card to his friend when he was about 6 - "Happy Birfday, Efan"

He can now, at 10 say "th" whenever he wants to, but chooses not to for protective colouration at school. Fine by me - it's always good to speak another language!

SoloIsApparentlyACougar Fri 29-Apr-11 00:21:25

This totally winds me up too and luckily Ds speaks properly and always has. Dd on the other hand has a lisp and cannot 'th' at all. or 'r' sad makes me very sad, but I can accept that she can't help it, though having said that, I do try to teach her to shape and situate her tongue to say these sounds.

seeker Fri 29-Apr-11 00:22:59

Why on earth doea it make you sad?

It's what they say that's important. Focus too much on how thay say it and they'll stop telling you things!

SoloIsApparentlyACougar Fri 29-Apr-11 00:31:54

It just does seeker. She has fantastic vocabulary for a 4yo and I'm a bit of a stickler for correct English, so to hear her f instead of th tightens my stomach a bit. I am more accepting of it now because I realise that it's the lisp and not just copying her peers. I am grateful that she says little and not li-ule (can't begin to think how to spell that).
Anyway, I'm going to take her to a speech therapist to see if I can help her any more than I am trying to already.

seeker Fri 29-Apr-11 00:42:00

She's 4 and has a "fantastic vocabulary"!

Leave the speech therapists for children who actually have a problem.

I was about 8 before I could reliably say "th" and still have to take a run at some words - fortunately words I don't have to say very often - thistle and isthmus being prime examples! But I was never made to feel that I was somehow talking wrong - I'm sure that would have been very damaging to my confidence.

Honestly, acknoqledge that it's your problem, not hers. Listen to what she's saying and not hwo she's sayingit and relax.

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