'The' Pronunciation in two ways - skillUP Centre

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Phonetics and Phonology

'The' Pronunciation in two ways

TH sound in 'The'

'The' can be pronounced in two ways - strong /ðiː/ weak /ðə/. First, the learner needs to be clear about the two 'TH' consonant sounds - unvoiced /θ/ and voiced /ð/. Unvoiced 'TH' or /θ/ means that the air only passes through the mouth and Voiced 'TH' or /ð/ means that the sound uses the vocal cords.

The two 'The' sounds

The two sounds of pronouncing 'The' are /ðə/ similar to "thuh" and /ði/  similar to "thee." We usually pronounce /ðə/ (thuh) if the word after "the" begins with a consonant sound, for example, Arif likes the (thuh) song very much. On the other hand, we pronounce /ði/ (thee) if the word after "the" begins with a vowel sound, for example, The (thee) ending of this song takes the listeners to another level.


Cambridge Dictionary. (2021, April 28). the definition: 1. used before nouns to refer to particular things or people that have already been talked about or. . .. Learn more. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/the

Carr, S. (2018, March 9). What are the different pronunciations of “the” and when do you use them? | Ask The Editor | Learner’s Dictionary. Learner’s Dictionary. https://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/Two-Pronunciations-of-The

M.L. (2017, December 10). TH pronunciation (voiced and unvoiced). English ESL Powerpoints for Distance Learning and Physical Classrooms. https://en.islcollective.com/english-esl-powerpoints/grammar/phonetics/th-pronunciation-voiced-and-unvoiced/103099

Smith, R. (2015, May 22). English: How to Pronounce TH Consonants [θ] + [ð]. Rachel’s English. https://rachelsenglish.com/english-pronounce-th-consonants/

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