Pronouncing the phoneme "th" as in "thin", "thank" etc

Sivaram Balakrishnan   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 14:59 GMT
Hello there!
I'm an Indian, and I can tell you that English is not just a language here - it is a Religion. Yes, really. People are crazy about it. I'm basically very much interested in the BBC English accent. Infact I'm happy to say that I've been training myself for over a year now to speak in that accent (using the computer), and achieved success to a large degree. However, there are a few problems I face, and one of them being this, and hope you natives out there would be able to help me out. My problem is that I'm a bit mixed up over the pronunciation of the dental fricative "th" as in "thank you". In India particulary, this sound is totally unknown. Not a single Indian over here can pronounce (or is aware) of the right sound for this phoneme.

Now, I know that while pronouncing this particular phoneme, the tongue has to be between the teeth, but I'm not entirely sure. So in comparison, my pronunciation of the words containing this sound such as "truth", "mouth" etc only are not very accurate (or so I feel). My questions are - How should the tongue be positioned while pronouncing this phoneme? Should it be between the upper and lower teeth?
Adam   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 15:06 GMT
I always thought that Indians didn't like the English language because it is a sign of imperialism.

Anyway, when I prounce "th", whether it is the "th" used in words such as "the" or the "th" used in words such as "think", I put my tongue on the bottom part of my top teeth.
Sivaram Balakrishnan   Saturday, February 21, 2004, 15:17 GMT
Hi Adam

What? Indians not liking English? That was 4 decades ago. Now, believe me - it is a status symbol. It has been like that for more than a decade now.

And thanks for your suggestion. I do the same, but my question is - should it protrude out of the front teeth, or hide beneath it? Hope you'd answer.

Many thanks!
Franc   Sunday, February 22, 2004, 02:53 GMT
Try the following site:

Then, click on 'English Sounds Library' then on the next pop-up window, click on 'Manner' then 'Fricative'. You can then play both Lingua-dental examples. A video animation will come up and show you exactly how it's supposed to be done. Mind you, this is an American English exercise but I think the general idea should be very similar to UK English in this case. Actually, the whole program is kinda fun.

Sivaram Balkrishnan   Sunday, February 22, 2004, 11:38 GMT
Hi Franc!

This was exactly the kind of resource I was looking for. I'm now happy that I followed the right procedure.

Many thanks, indeed!
Franc   Sunday, February 22, 2004, 15:34 GMT
You're very welcome!!