If you want to learn the native American accent, you need to understand that there’s a huge difference in the way you actually pronounce TH and V. You might think you’re saying it right and I know this because I’ve had so many students who think they have a natural sound but they actually don’t!
There’s a huge difference in the actual American accent and the way immigrants pronounce words with TH like ‘they/there/though/that’ as well as words with V, for example, ‘vivacious/very/violent’ and so on. Here’s the thing, look at this picture attached.
You will see how the mouth movements are supposed to be to bring out the proper American accent. The trick with the TH is you have to bring your tongue out and bite it with both your top and bottom teeth every time you say TH. Try that right now. Try to say teeth, health, truth. Do you feel the difference when you bite your tongue and sound at the TH? it’s like you release a little pressure and the TH sound comes out of friction when you rub your tongue with your teeth. That is how it’s supposed to be every time! Don’t think you can ignore this when you are speaking fast and saying works like a the, they, that. These words are very common and you will want to skip the actual TH sound because all of a sudden, you would have to stop and bite your tongue while speaking, but that’s exactly what native speakers do. They have the ability to make it so fast that you don’t notice they’re actually doing it, but it happens all the time.
Notice the next time a native speaker speaking or go on YouTube right now play a video with a native speaker and you will notice the biting of the tongue. You gotta do it slowly to make sure you get it right and eventually make it a habit.
Then comes the V sound. How many times we say the V like W?! Trust me, you might have been saying VERY like WERY and VIOLENT like WIOLENT and so on. The proper way to say the V sound is to bite your bottom lips with your top teeth. Once again, the sound comes out of friction from the rubbing your teeth with the lips. If you start learning this and you practice it correctly, your bottom lips will literally hurt and that will mean you’re doing it correctly! That’s why English can be frustrating because it is one language where you use a variation of movements and honestly, it sometimes hurts, even with native speakers when they talk for a long time. Go ahead and try this now with the V sounds like violent, Violet, Vivacious, Very, Versatile, etc. If you are biting your bottom lip and you feel a little rub, you’re doing it right.
To practice all the sounds, you can always use a sound recorder and play it after recording to see if you sound like a native speaker. If not, you’re not doing the friction right.
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P.S. imagine for a second how many times in life you have said the word THE. Probably a million times or more. All this time, you have been doing it wrong. Let that sink in! With this practice, change it for the next millions of times moments to come 😉