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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?


bruffin Mon 31-Dec-12 23:48:15

I only noticed the other day dd 15 cant say th, when she was telling me about a fim called ."four" she was talking about "thor"
DH cant say th either.
Have tried with both of them but neither can say Th.

Karoleann Mon 31-Dec-12 23:41:47

We saw salt for ds1 when he was 5 for the same reason. They don't worry until 7. "th" came without intervention a few months later.

buteman Mon 31-Dec-12 20:50:50

Hi All,
Here is the method and please note there is NO promoting of any organization in this.

"Learning the TH Sound All By Itself

I love teaching the TH sound because it is one of the most visual sounds to teach. Model putting your tongue between your teeth while blowing air at the same time. Most children will have no difficulty imitating this action. Then practice this action with and with out voice. Think of it as a loud th and a quiet th. The reason for this is the TH is pronounced with voice in some words like, “that, this and the” and without voice in other words like, “thank you, theater and thongs.”

Practice the TH Sound in Syllables

Once you have had multiple successful productions of the TH sound all by itself try adding a long or short vowel to the TH sound. For example, “they, the, though, tha, thee, thy…” Then try putting the vowel in front of the the sound, for example, “ath, eth, eeth, ith, uth, oath…” Finally try putting the Th sound in the middle of vowels, for example, “atho, ethee, ootha, othu…” Which ever syllable combination your child is the most successful with will tell you whether you want to begin practice with words that begin with TH, end with Th or have Th occurring in the middle.

Practice the TH Sound in Words

If your child did did the best with TH following the vowel you would begin practicing words that end in TH like, “booth, bath, path, north, moth, mouth…” I prefer to practice with a list of at least 20 words. I like to use pictures to make it more fun. Fun ways to use the pictures include making a snake with the pictures with little treats every 3-4 cards, have the child say the name of the picture, if it is correct put it away, if he/she misses the word put it in a pile to practice later. When you have gone through all the words have your child say the ones they missed 5 times correctly before putting them away. You can also play games like memory, go fish, and bingo to keep it fun. You can download the pictures I have created for words beginning with TH as well as words that have TH in the middle and at the end of the word on the worksheets page. Once your child is able to say these words with 80% accuracy or better, try putting them into a sentence.

Practice the TH Sound in Sentences

I use one sentence and have the child insert all their practice words into that sentence. For example the sentence might be, “They both have a ______.” In the blank you would fill in “They both have a bath, They both have a mouth, They both have a north.” Some sentences will make sense and others will not. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss how to make the sentence correct. If you are practicing the TH in the beginning of words you might use the sentence “That is the _____.” If you are practicing the TH in the middle of words you could use the sentence, “My brother wants a ______.” Feel free to make up your own sentences as well.

Practice the TH Sound in Stories

Following successful sentence productions have your child practice the TH sound while retelling simple stories or while reading aloud depending on the ability level of the child. Be sure to follow this outline until you have achieved mastery of the Th sound in all positions of words (beginning, middle and end of words).

Practice the TH Sound in Conversation

Once your child is able to retell stories with good TH production you will find moving the TH into conversation will go pretty smoothly. You may still have to remind your child from time to time but more often you will be pleased to watch them catch themselves and make the correction on their. Before you know it, you’ll forget they ever had a problem with TH."

I hope this is a helpful as I believe it to be.

EcoLady Mon 31-Dec-12 18:54:25

Setting aside all of those who genuinely struggle to pronounce sounds correctly... some children do start to use /f/ or /v/ sounds instead of /th/ as part of developing their own attitude. When teaching year 6, we knew which children to pull up on saying "fir-een" instead of "thirteen". It was a deliberate thing by the child and a very deliberate correction by the teaching staff. We picked up other speech errors, such as "we was going...", or "I done it". It's part of the same attitude and directly impacts on their writing.

Elibean Mon 31-Dec-12 18:07:55

dd1 said 'de' instead of 'the' and 'wiv' instead of 'with' from early on. She is bilingual (French) so we assumed it was because of that - to start with - but when it was picked up on by her teacher in Y2, I questioned it a bit more deeply.

(I posted at beginning of this thread, well over a year ago!)

She turned it around in a few weeks, with focused practice - and all I did was ask her to say it correctly every time she read with me, which was pretty much every evening. I had to show her how to stick her tongue out between her teeth to do it, but then she was away on her problem.

dd2, who is now 6, has adopted a lisp ('thocks' instead of 'socks') because, I suspect, her best friend - who is older, and very clever - has one wink

So now we're gently correcting that: I showed her how to keep tongue behind her teeth when she makes the 's' sound, and hey presto.

buteman Mon 31-Dec-12 17:24:01

I posted here earlier for the first time about this problem some seem to have. Unfortunately, without intending to advertise or promote any business, I provided a link to what I thought was really helpful and free information to help all those who suffer from this problem and those who wish to help them.
I explained that I had yesterday heard a man who could not seem to say 'death' although he could clearly say 'this', 'those' or 'them'.

He said instead 'deaf' which as I am sure you appreciate, could upset both deaf people and those who had just had a family member or friend die.

I received an email informing me that my post had been deleted. As I had not intended to offend anyone or promote another site I have asked if my link could just be deleted and the rest of the text re-enabled.
I feel quite passionately that this is something which was virtually unheard of when I was younger because children were corrected gently by parents, friends and teachers when they were small children. This simply consisted of consistently and repeatedly saying something like 'No you say '......'

I was so impressed by the method the link showed which seems to be a really sound method of helping even adults to rectify this problem I copied the text and saved it on my computer. I have 5 young grandchildren and want to be sure they can be helped if needed as I know that it can often give the impression that the person is uneducated or unintelligent when I think this is rarely the case.

Also, if you preview any post you make it simply says:
"This is a preview of your new message. If you used any links in your post, they should be working correctly in the preview. If your post is correct, click on "Post Message" at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, you can revise your message." so I had not thought I would have any problem with it.

buteman Sun 30-Dec-12 20:40:21

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 21-Jul-11 14:20:01

It matters a lot and first impressions do count. I know full well that how people speak does not necessarily reflect their level of education or their intelligence, but accents and speech patterns do give us clues about people. And missing out or mispronouncing letters is hardly a good thing. It does make people sound less educated than they may well be. My 5yo also occasionally mixes up the ff/th sounds, though he is getting much better and I gently correct every single time I notice it. It's not helped by the fact that my husband can also neither say nor hear the correct 'th' sound.

emlu67 Thu 21-Jul-11 13:53:20

My DS 4 1/2 does it the other way round - using TH instead of F e.g. one, two, three, thor, thive...

He was a very late talker but has a good vocabulary now and this is the only problem but if I ask him to say words correctly he gets very upset. He will be starting Reception in Sept and the teacher knows a lot about speech problems so will mention it to her when he starts.

piprabbit Thu 21-Jul-11 01:01:40

How did you guess? grin.

ATM my 3yo can't distinguish between F, TH or S sounds, oh well.

madhattershouse Thu 21-Jul-11 00:38:47

piprabbit are you from Essex too?
Soufend, berfday...etc. I know many who sound like this..sadly my 4yo still does this and sounds just like her dad!

piprabbit Thu 21-Jul-11 00:35:18

The majority people in my area routinely say F instead of TH.
Bother becomes bover
Birthday becomes birfday
and Southend becomes Sarfend.

tika Thu 21-Jul-11 00:29:08

my son spoke well until a couple of months ago. now he started speaking v instead of th. he has just finished reception. today he was trying to write with and wrote wiv, i almost die. i try to correct him all the time but is difficult not to annoy him in the end. to make things worse we speak portuguese at home and my english accent is ok but not that good. i really don't know what to do to correct him.

he went through the wa (t) er, wa (t) ever phase at nursery and even innit, i spoke to the teacher and between both of us we won this one. he was at 4, doing it on purpose and all that! now i think that is more difficult as in the school teachers have more pupils and each child gets gets less attention. i am really worried

SoloIsApparentlyACougar Mon 02-May-11 00:38:12

Beccabell, from what I've heard from my Dd's peers in nursery, there is no way she's going to improve by being around them; just the opposite I think as they can't even say buTTer or waTer ~ so THing is never going to happen.

igggi Sun 01-May-11 22:40:42

I'm glad my parents didn't choose to ignore this, as I think it took me two speech therapy sessions to fix it. I wasn't physically unable to say th, I just really didn't know the mouth shape to make as I hadn't picked it up when I learned to talk.
Being corrected wouldn't have stopped it, I needed to be taught.

Elibean Sun 01-May-11 22:29:33

Yes. The only reason I even think about it with dd is because her teacher said it muddles her with spelling.

Actually, now I know she CAN say 'th' it doesn't bother me so much whether she does or doesn't. I was worried that speaking to her in French (in which there is no 'th' sound) for the first few years of her life had messed up her English confused

dd2, OTOH, has a genuine lisp - which I'm not going to worry about for a while longer as its already better than it was.

mrz Sun 01-May-11 13:14:15

It can become a problem when spelling words if the child says "wif" or "wiv" rather than "with" and in the case of my student the children really struggled because she replaced th^ with ^f or v when she read out loud or in a spelling lesson.

manicinsomniac Sun 01-May-11 12:55:45

The fact that there are adults who do this mean that, for some children, it is not something they are just going to 'grow out of on their own'.

I'm a teacher and this subject is raised occasionally in staff meetings, with the dominant opinion being that any child can be taught to say 'th' with enough effort put into it at an early enough age.

Personally, I think a few colleagues are a bit anally retentive about it (getting children to repeat over and over and pulling them up on it every time) but, admittedly, it does seem to work.

We are considering moving the intervention stage downwards from year 3 to year 1.

Beccabell Sun 01-May-11 12:22:07

Hi there
My DD1 stopped this at age 6, and DD2 is starting to get it right now age 6 and a half - she'll get there eventually. I found they just stopped saying f instead of th gradually - and being at school for a couple of years helped. I do pick up on my DD2's mistakes and she corrects herself, but I do it nicely as she's fairly quiet and I don't want to put her off talking to people!
If they are corrected, I think they grow out of it, especially if most of their peers no longer do it.
Don't worry too much - I used to obsess about it with DD1 - she pretty much speaks the Queens English now (except has started to punctuate her speech with "like" every few seconds and use an Australian intonation so that everything sounds like a question - aaghhh!) From one thing to another eh?

crazynanna Sat 30-Apr-11 08:21:26

My DD (age 12) does the opposite. She replaces 'F' with 'TH' in "thinger" for "finger". No idea why!

seeker Sat 30-Apr-11 08:12:25

You know what?

It doesn't matter.

But if it does matter to you, then the worst possile thing you can do is make your children aware of it. If they can't help it, it will make them self conscious about their speech which could be disastrous. If they can help it, it will give them a massive weapon to use against you!

By the way, I have a friend who's child had several speech problems - "s" for "th", "l" for "r" and others. He lad lots of speech therapy because he couldn;t make himself understood. The therapist said that she wasn't even going to do anything with most of the issues becaue they would get better with time and parental modelling. The only one she was concerned about was in a word which started with two consonants, he would only sound the first one - so "spaceman" became "saceman". Se was right. He is 11 now, and while he still has some issues with the double consonants, all the rest have gone by themselves.

EasterIgg Sat 30-Apr-11 00:35:11

I did this. At some point in primary school, had a few sessions with a speech therapist. Made me conscious of what I was going and have never done it since.

EasterIgg Sat 30-Apr-11 00:35:10

I did this. At some point in primary school, had a few sessions with a speech therapist. Made me conscious of what I was going and have never done it since.

SoloIsApparentlyACougar Sat 30-Apr-11 00:29:23

Funny thing is that I completely love accept the way Jamie Oliver speaks...maybe it's because I like his cooking smile

DoubleNegativePanda Fri 29-Apr-11 23:56:57

I think most children grow out of this on their own. However, I recently came across "Jamie at Home" on television and got excited as you all talk about Jamie Oliver so much. I turned him off halfway through as his speech was so fecking annoying. And the tongue constantly lolling out. Eurgh.

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