Accent Reduction Technique - How to Pronounce "The" in American English

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This week in my accent reduction coaching classes two people asked me how to pronounce the word "the".
That is a great question and in this article I will explain the different pronunciations of that word.
As everyone knows, one of the most common words in English is the article "the".
This word is used in almost every sentence but most non native English speakers pronounce it incorrectly.
If you learn to pronounce it correctly using the voiced Th sound, your American English will sound much more natural.
Here are three techniques you must follow in order to pronounce this word correctly.
Technique # 1.
The article "the" begins with the voiced Th consonant sound.
To make the voiced Th sound you must place the tip of your tongue between your teeth.
Since this is a voiced sound, your vocal chords should vibrate when you push the air through your throat Technique # 2.
The vowel sound in "the" changes according to the first sound in the following word.
When "the" is followed by a word beginning with a vowel sound the "e" sounds like /iy/ as in green.
Here are a few example phrases: the answer, the egg, the old man, the ugly house Now, practice saying the sentences below using the voiced Th and /iy/ for the vowel sound.
1.
Please tell me the answer! 2.
The eggs cost $1.
29 a dozen.
3.
I sat by the old man on the airplane.
4.
The ugly house is very cheap.
Technique # 3.
When "the" is followed by a word beginning with a consonant sound the "e" should be articulated with the schwa or "uh" sound.
Here are a few example phrases: the book, the cat, the video, the table Practice saying the sentences below by voicing the Th and using a schwa or "uh" sound for the vowel sound.
1.
I read the book.
2.
The cats are in the house.
3.
Did you return the video? 4.
Put the drinks on the table.
Since the word "the" is used so frequently in spoken English pronouncing it correctly will help you improve your American English pronunciation and reduce your accent.
Always try to used the voiced Th sound at the beginning of this word.
Use the /iy/ vowel sound when the next word starts with a vowel.
Use the schwa vowel sound when the next word begins with a consonant.
If you are not sure how to pronounce the voiced Th sound, the /iy/ sound or the schwa vowel sound, check out some accent reduction classes or training.
These are the very best ways to reduce your accent!
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