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TH and R

Does your mouth get all weird when you’re pronouncing an R right after the TH?
I know I know, each sound alone is challenging, so the two together – f’GEddabaudit!
(translation: forget about it).

But don’t worry, I got you covered.
Here’s my take on the Th and R


Hey guys, it’s Hadar. And this is the Accent’s Way. And today we’re going to talk about the vicious and evil combination – TH and the R, as in the word ‘three’, ‘thrill’, and ‘through’.

I think this is the one question I get asked the most: How to pronounce the transition from the TH to the R. Because first of all, these two consonants are really difficult for non-native speakers, most non-native speakers. Sorry, if that’s not difficult for you. So, it’s usually difficult for most non-native speakers, but also people who do know how to pronounce the TH and then the R, they get this weird middle sound like a trilled R in the middle, like ‘thRee’ and ‘thRoat’. So today we’re going to talk about how to make this transition and how to avoid the trilled R when making this transition.

So, to make the TH sound, you already know, I hope, that the tongue needs to be outside, and the air has to pass between the tongue and teeth in order to create this friction sound. Same quality as an F or an S, but you need to create this quality of sound while the tongue is outside touching the top teeth. If your tongue is going to be inside, or it’s going to be pressed tightly against the teeth, it’s going to sound like a T. And then the word ‘three’ will sound like ‘tree’. So, the tongue has to be out.

And then you need to shift to the R sound, right? And to make the R sound, the tongue has to be in the middle of the mouth. So basically, the tongue is standing there in the middle of the mouth pointing up, but not touching anything. And the sides of the tongue touch the insides of the upper teeth: ‘ur’. And the lips round. ‘ur’.

Now, think of the transition from the TH to the R, visualize your tongue. You start with the tongue out and then you need to pull it in to the middle of the mouth – ‘thur’. The thing is that a lot of people just bring the tongue up and in, and then on the way in and up, it touches the upper palate. Cause it’s just waiting there for you. So instead of hearing ‘three,’ you may hear ‘thRee’. You’re flapping your tongue against the upper palate, instead of pulling it down and in for a pure R – ‘thur’. Three.

And again, visualize your tongue coming down and in, hold out the R – ‘thurrr’, and then continue with the word. Three. Thrill. Not ‘thRill’. ‘through’. So bring the tongue in, round your lips for the R, and finish it up with the ‘uw’ as in ‘food’. Through. Think like there is an extra W there at the end. Through.

Okay. So, the key here is to prolong the R, to take it slowly, and to know exactly what your tongue is doing in every step of the way. That’s the only way to overcome old habits and acquired new habits, like the pronunciation of the TH and the R. Okay? Good.

So, I hope this was helpful. Let me know in the comments below if it is. And if not, what’s still difficult for you, and come on over to my website to check it out because there is a lot of great content just waiting for you there.

Have a great week. And I will see you next week in the next video.

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
225. How to pronounce TH before R

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