I have a problem where in I am unable to pronounce certain words which has the letter "T" correctly. Is there a term that defines this problem. It would help me in my future conversations with people if i let them know my issue.

Example: Word: THREAT Issue: "TH" is easy to pronounce but the ending "T" is the issue. When i say it the ending "T" also sounds like "TH".

Note: I'm assuming "lisp" is an issue with "s"

  • When you sat threat, what does the final t sound like?
    – WS2
    May 2 '16 at 7:38
  • The final t sounds like th of the word threat with a slightly lower emphasis of h.
    – Bhavana
    May 2 '16 at 8:04
  • Suppose you have to speak out the words "tame," "thames," "bat" and "bath." Does the "t" in each of the words "tame" and "bat" sound the same way you described, which is "th with a slightly lower emphasis of h?"
    – vickyace
    May 2 '16 at 8:20
  • Bingo!!! yes that's it! That's how it sounds.
    – Bhavana
    May 2 '16 at 8:28
  • @Bhavana If you are not a native speaker of the English language, then you are expected to have an accent with characteristics completely different from others. It is probably your accent, but if you think your pronunciation is different from your coevals, friends and other people who grew up around you, it may be dysphonia if not your accent.
    – vickyace
    May 2 '16 at 9:58

Bhavana, your name hints at the right answer.
I would assume that your home language is a North Indian one. In North Indian languages there are two sounds that sound to an English speaker like the English 't'. On the other hand, they don't have the sound of 'th' in 'thumb' or 'threat'.
One of the Indian sounds often sounds to English speakers like the 'th' in 'thumb', so much so that sometimes you see names like "Gita" and "Tara" spelled "Githa" and "Thara" in an effort to show the dental 't' of Hindi.
On the other hand, to Indian speakers, the English 't' sounds more like the other, retroflex, 't'.
So when you hear an English speaker saying 'threat', you hear the dental 't' at the beginning, and the retroflex 't' at the end. But the English speaker has used a dental spirant at the beginning - 'th' - and an apical stop 't' at the end. Neither of these occurs in any North Indian language (but apical 't' occurs in Tamil).
You feel, without quite knowing it, that you should be using a dental at the front, and a retroflex at the end. But it's quite hard for anyone to shift rapidly from the dental to the retroflex position, certainly within a single short syllable. So you produce a dental at both ends, and this is what bothers you.
Rather than fuss about it, just accept that it gives a charming sound to your English - rather like that of my wife Githa and her sister Thara, whom I can't persuade to spell their names any other way!

  • Just one wrong assumption Frank. I am from south of India and you are so right in saying that my issue is with the rapid shift. And being from south of India who are generally good at this I am usually the butt of all jokes :) Aside that, I do pride myself of the charming sound this flaw of mine gives to my speech! Thank you!
    – Bhavana
    May 3 '16 at 4:21
  • Ah! OK Bhavana - the 'Bh' tells me that if you're from south India, you probably speak Telugu or Kannada because you can't write Bhavana in Tamil or Malayalam. Charming languages, all of them!
    – frank
    May 3 '16 at 9:04
  • Oh my!!! you can't be more right. Kannada it is. I couldn't have analysed this fact as good as you did. Impressed by your knowledge.
    – Bhavana
    May 3 '16 at 10:38
  • 1
    Thank you, Bhavana. But we still haven't solved your problem. I think this will. Transliterate 'threat' into Hindi or Kannada. Use the 't' of 'trivedi' at the beginning, and that you would use in transliterating 'ticket' at the other end. Read that aloud, and you will get the right sound at the end. Then all you have to do is smoothe the initial 't' to 'th', and your problem is solved. Sounds like magic, but it works.
    – frank
    May 4 '16 at 7:38

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