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2.19: The Consonant Sounds Voiced and Unvoiced <th>

  • Page ID
    7068
  • Overview of Voiced and Unvoiced <th>

    There are two sounds that are spelled <th> and that sound very much alike. The sounds [th] and [th] are an unvoiced-voiced pair: [th] is unvoiced, pronounced with no vibration of the vocal cords; [th] is voiced, pronounced with the vocal cords vibrating.

    Examples

    You can hear the voiced <th> sound at the front of the word then. You can hear the difference between the two if you say thin and then right after one another two or three times. Thin starts with the sound [th]. Then starts with the other sound, which we will write out as [th].

    You can also hear the two sounds at the end of bath and batheBath ends with [th]. Bathe ends with [th].

    Review

    1. Sort the words below into the two groups.
      \begin{align*}
          & \text{through} && \text{breath} && \text{that} && \text{further}\\
          & \text{thief} && \text{breathe} && \text{fifth} && \text{sixth}\\
          & \text{though} && \text{thought} && \text{cloth} && \text{clothes}\\
          & \text{thirties} && \text{threw} && \text{they} && \text{this}\\
          & \text{there} && \text{another} && \text{father} && \text{tooth}
      \end{align*}
      Words that contain...
      [th] [th]
             
             
             
             
             
    2. In all of the words that contain [th], how is [th] spelled? _______
    3. So in this lesson you've seen that <th> spells two different sounds. The two sounds that are spelled <th> are __________ and ________. 
    Show Answer
    1. Words that contain ...
      [th] [th]
      thank thousand though they
      thief fifth there father
      thick cloth breathe further
      breath athlete smooth clothes
      thought tooth that this
    2. In all of the words that contain [th], how is [th] spelled? <th>.
    3. So in this lesson you've seen that <th> spells two different sounds. The two sounds that are spelled <th> are [th] and [th].

    Explore More

    Word Find. This Find contains twenty words that all start with the sounds [th] or [th]. But this one is a little different from the ones you've done in other concepts. We are not going to tell you what the twenty words are ahead of time. You will have to find them on your own. After you have found them, sort them into the two groups described below.

    Words that Start with [th] Words that Start with [th]
           
           
           
           
           
    Show Answer
    Words that Start with [th]: Words that Start with [th]:
    three thin the then
    threw thank that therefore
    thug thousand thee them
    thanks thoughts themselves those
    thirty theft this they

    A Function of Silent Final <e>: Voiced <th>

    There are three functions of silent final <e>:

    a. A final <e> can mark a preceding vowel as being long in the patterns Ve# and Vce.

    b. A final <e> can mark a <c> in front of it as being soft so that the <c> is pronounced [s].

    c. A final <e> can mark a <g> in front of it as being soft so that the <g> is pronounced [j].

    There is one other consonant whose sound final <e> can mark. Say these two sentences carefully, paying special attention to the last sound you hear in each underlined word:

    I could not get my breath.

    I could not breathe.

    You should hear a difference between the final consonant sounds in the two words. The difference is called voicing. The <th> sound at the end of breathe is voiced. But the <th> sound at the end of breath is unvoiced.

    In the front of people's throats you can see a lump that we sometimes call the “Adam's apple.” That lump is actually the voice box, and it contains the vocal cords. When we pronounce voiced sounds, we make those vocal cords buzz. When we pronounce unvoiced sounds, we don't buzz them. That buzzing sound is what we call voicing.

    Examples

    The voiced <th> sound at the end of breathe is written [th]. The voiceless <th> sound at the end of breath is written [th].

    So the pronunciation of breath would be written [breth], and breathe would be written [brēth].

    Review

    1. Pronounce these words carefully. If you are unsure of any, ask for help or look them up in the dictionary. Underline the words that end with voiced [th]. Then sort them into the matrix below.
      \begin{align*}
          & \text{cloth} && \text{bath} && \text{breath} && \text{teeth}\\
          & \text{clothe} && \text{bathe} && \text{breathe} && \text{teethe}\\
          & \text{with} && \text{wreath} && \text{booth} && \text{loath}\\
          & \text{tithe} && \text{wreathe} && \text{soothe} && \text{loathe}
      \end{align*}

      Words whose final sound is ...
        voiced [th]: voiceless [th]:

      Words with

      a silent final <e>

         

      Words with

      no silent final <e>

         
    2. A silent final <e> marks a preceding vowel as ___________, a preceding <c> or <g> as ___________, and a preceding <th> as ___________.

    Show Answer
    1. Words whose final sound is ...
        voiced [th]: voiceless [th]:

      Words with

      a silent final <e>

      clothe

      tithe

      bathe

      wreathe

      breathe

      soothe

      teethe

      loathe

       

      Words with

      no silent final <e>

       

      cloth

      with

      bath

      wreath

      breath

      booth

      teeth

      loath

    2. A silent final <e> marks a preceding vowel as long, a preceding <c> or <g> as soft, and a preceding <th> as voiced.

    Explore More

    Word Venn. In circle A put only words that contain the sound [th]. In circle B put only words that end with a silent <e>. In circle C put only words that contain the sound [u].

    \begin{align*}
        & \text{northern} && \text{unworthy} && \text{rhythm} && \text{mother}\\
        & \text{love} && \text{sunbathe} && \text{soothe} && \text{announce}\\
        & \text{breath} && \text{breathe} && \text{with} && \text{tongue}\\
        & \text{druggist} && \text{statue} && \text{adjust} && \text{unclothe}
    \end{align*}

    Show Answer

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