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GBC 16 Pronouncing TH, SI and V

This lesson is aimed at quickly improving pronunciation. It will focus on three sounds that don't appear in the Japanese alphabet, but most people can start to make them relatively quickly.


One full section of the GBC is about pronunciation. It is an English skill that is often overlooked. This lesson will focus on three sounds that can be quickly improved: TH, SI and V. If you'd like to study pronunciation more deeply, please try one of our pronunciation courses.

Warm Up: 

1. Have you practiced pronunciation, and if so, what strategies have you used?
2. How is pronunciation different from other language skills?



If you have done the GBC, look at your score sheet. You will find specific sounds that need improvement. Please try everything, but spend more time on the sounds that your test administrator has noted.


This sound is made by putting your tongue out of your mouth, and pressing it against your front teeth. After making the sound correctly, say this tongue twister five times:

I think this that and the other thing.

It is often confused with /s/, /z/ or /d/. So try saying each of these pairs five times:

1. Think / sink.  
2. The / za / da
3. Them / dem.


This sound does not exist in Japanese, so it is often a problem point. /si/ is a clean sound made without pushing your cheeks together, while /shi/ is made by pushing your cheeks together.

Start by saying these combinations:

1. sa, si, su
2. sha, shi, shu

Try to say each line five times, then put both lines together and say it all five times. 

1. She sells,
2. sea shells,
3. by the sea shore.


This is another sound that does not exist in Japanese. /v/ is made by pushing your lower lip against your upper front teeth, while /b/ is made by pushing both lips together. Try saying each line five times:

1. Van / ban
2. Very / berry
3. Vancouver


Pronouncing a word in context is more difficult than pronouncing the word by itself. Try answering these questions, and pay close attention to how you pronounce /th/, /si/ and /v/.

1. Describe your leadership experience, with a specific example.
2. What do you think of free trade agreements like the TPP?
3. What is your opinion of American president Donald Trump?