Hello everyone, how are you today?
I hope you’re well, because here in Germany it’s cold as h … I mean, it’s really cold :p
Anyway, let’s get down to business! I’m David Martin, I’m from San Diego and
I work very passionately as translator, interpreter and
foreign language coach, especially for those individuals who want to improve their
fluency in the languages they are learning. In today’s video, I wanted to talk to you about the correct pronunciation
of two of the words most frequently mispronounced
by non-native speakers of English. Specifically, the word
“months”, which is the plural form of the word “month”, that is “month” and “months”
respectively, and the word “clothes”.
Great, let’s start with the word “months”. As you can see, in this case, in the
singular form, you DO pronounce the “th” the “th” sound This symbol is a symbol used in the International Phonetic Alphabet and represents the sound “th” This symbol is a / ʌ / as in “up” or “under” in English. So, in the singular form we say “month” but in the plural form, we don’t pronounce the “th” or the “th”, the sound “th” we say / mʌns /. An example: “I’ve been living in Germany for 6 months.” “I’ve been living in Germany for 6 months.” The other case, the other word is the word
“clothes” which means clothes, as I’ve said before.
Well, as you can see, they pronounce “clothes” and it sounds exactly the same
as the word “close” (this word here). There will be English natives who will tell you that
they DO pronounce the “th” sound in these two words but in most cases it is not pronounced,
especially in the day-to-day of English native speakers
and especially when we are talking very quickly.
For example – as in the example that I’ve already given you “I’ve been living here for 6 months” BUT “I’ve been living here for 1 month” Great. I’m going to give you another example:
Suppose you go to the beach with your friends and you put on your swimsuit, you go
to the water, have a little fun and then you get out of the water and
you don’t know where your clothes are. So you say “Hey guys, where is my clothes?” or rather “Where ARE my clothes?” People are not going to think you said
“Where are my CLOSE?” Why? Because of the context. That is, these two words sound exactly the same,
but due to the context, people DO understand and that’s how we speak in our day-to-day lives.
Ok, so the final question is: Why? Why don’t we pronounce the
“th” sound in these two words? And the answer is simply: Because it’s easier. It is easier to NOT pronounce two fricative consonants – that’s what they are called –
two fricative consonants in a row. A fricative consonant is a
consonant that occurs when you form a narrow channel in the mouth, that is,
it is a partial interruption of the air coming out of the mouth. And because the place, that is,
the places of articulation of these two sounds (“th” and “s”)
are very close to one another in the mouth it is very difficult to say “ths” (“monTHS” – “cloTHeS”). It can be done, but it is very very difficult,
so when are we talking rapidly, well, we simply don’t say it at all: / mʌnθ / – / mʌns / and / kloʊz /, which sounds exactly the same as close (“close”) as I said. Awesome! I think that’s sufficient for today, I hope you’ve found this video useful. If you have more questions about the correct pronunciation of English words, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, and we’ll see each other again in the near future (I hope!)
Take care, bye!