I'm asking this because I heard two people say fink* instead of think & bof* instead of both: a non native university teacher of English and a native speaker of English. If it's not a speech impediment which variety of English does it belong to?

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    Generally speaking, we pronounce th differenlty than f. The inability to pronounce them differently is a fairly common speech impediment among children that sometimes requires speech therapy to correct. HOWEVER, there are some accents in English where th is pronounced the same as f. As far as I know, those dialects are all in England. They center mostly around London in areas that are predominantly working class or welfare class (e.g., the chav accent and the cockney accent). – Benjamin Harman Jul 16 '16 at 7:14
  • See also distinguishing f and th... – Mitch Sep 2 '16 at 14:42
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    @CannedMan: No, it's not a duplicate. That question isn't about which accents of English have the th > f shift: the question post mentions this topic only in passing, and the answer post not at all. "How well can English speakers distinguish word pairs in these dialects?" is not the same question as "which variety of English does [this change] belong to?" – herisson Jan 13 '19 at 11:01

I think you are referring to the


  • it refers to the pronunciation of the English "th" as "f" or "v". When th-fronting is applied, /θ/ becomes /f/ (for example, three is pronounced as free) and /ð/ becomes /v/ (for example, bathe is pronounced as bave). Unlike the fronting of /θ/ to /f/, the fronting of /ð/ to /v/ doesn't occur in any dialect word-initially (for example, while bathe can be pronounced as bave, that is never pronounced as *vat).

  • Th-fronting is a prominent feature of several dialects of English, notably Cockney, Estuary English, some West Country dialects, Newfoundland English, African American Vernacular English, and Liberian English, as well as in many foreign accents (though the details differ among those accents).1


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  • Did answer my question thanks but according to this article the th fronting doesn't apply to words like both. i heard 'both' pronounced 'bof' from the non native speaker though. – user15851 Jul 15 '16 at 20:46
  • @mis-n-salem: where does that article say that it doesn't apply to words like "both"? – herisson Jul 15 '16 at 21:50
  • @sumelic it's not mentioned. I concluded that it doesn't apply to 'both' based on my understanding of the meaning of the th-fronting and the examples provided in the article for the words pronounced with the sound /θ/ at the beginning of the words: three, thursday... – user15851 Jul 16 '16 at 5:56
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    @mis-n-salem: The term "fronting" refers to the fact that the sound /f/ is pronounced further in the mouth than the sound /θ/ (we pronounce /f/ with the lips against the teeth, while /θ/ is with the tongue against the teeth). Fronting of /θ/ to /f/ can occur in any position in the word: the beginning ("Fursday"), middle ("aflete"), or end ("bof"). As the article explains, fronting of /ð/ to /v/ cannot occur at the beginning of words, but it occurs elsewhere ("bruvver" or "breave"). – herisson Jul 16 '16 at 18:35
  • @sumelic thanks for the clarification.Got it now! You explained it better than the article that left me quite confused, to be honest. – user15851 Jul 16 '16 at 20:28

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