30 maart 2011

Rock Your English! (3) - How to Master the Most Difficult Sound in English and Become a Better Kisser

Na deel 1, deel 2 nu deel 3 van Buffi Duberman: 'I get asked all the time where Dutchies have the biggest problem when it comes to pronunciation. That, my darlings, is the TH-sound… Or lack of it. If I had a dollar for every time I hear ‘I tink of you’, ‘come wit me’, ‘let’s eat somefing’ or ‘my brudder’ then I would be living on my own private island off the coast of Eindhoven by now. However, because I am on a one-woman mission to Rock everyone’s English, I’d really like to tackle this with you today.

To make the TH sound correctly, you need to stick out your tongue like a snake. It’s like a baby who can’t say ‘S’; that baby says ‘TH’:
Now you try. Try this in front of the mirror, or practice with someone you know well (or would like to know better ;-) If you can see your tongue, then you are doing it right. If you spit on your coach while doing this, then you are perfect and she will love you forever. Spit rules!

Moving on: did you know that there’s actually 2 different forms of the TH-sound? One is ‘blown’, the other is ‘buzzed’. First let’s see what the difference is. Put your hands on the glands under your jaw, as in the picture shown:

Say these words, and try to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the TH-sound for as long as you can:


If you did it right, then you should feel no vibrations in the glands under your jawline. These words are all ‘blown’ – all the action happens in your mouth, with your tongue between your teeth. Now try these words, again stretching the TH-sound for as long as you can:


If you did it correctly, you should have felt some vibration in that area. That’s why these words are called ‘buzzed’. Now you’re going to ask me how you can tell the difference when you see a word with TH in it – blown or buzzed? There are no set rules for this, unfortunately, but by listening carefully to how native speakers say it (or using the audio fragment on dictionary.com), you should be able to master it soon. Practice every day – I know many people who have a list of TH-words hanging in their bathroom, and practice before/after brushing their teeth (no joke – it works!).

Now, for our Grand Finale, say this a thousand times fast:
‘Thank you for thinking that Thursday was my birthday, I certainly thought I was thirty!’ Rocking Your English means having a great tongue and using it well. Your listeners will love you more, and your lovers will too!'

Genoeg huiswerk dus. Buffi is ook aanwezig op de Muzikantendag, zaterdag 16 april in het Conservatorium van Utrecht (op de Mariaplaats). Ik kom ook, om 14u en 15u.

1 opmerking:

Paul G. Hunt zei

Om pedant te zijn, "with" komt in verschillende dialecten voor met een stemloze "th" (/wɪθ/) zowel als met een stemhebbende (/wɪð/). In het laatste geval hoort het woord dus even goed thuis in het tweede rijtje.