Paolo asked the following question:
I bought a copy of your dvds.. you mentioned that sometimes the “th sound” is silent, in words such as: “months” or “clothes” so that months sounds like mons am i right? and clothes should sound like close.. but there are also other words you haven’t mentioned… like deaths,, truths, smiths.. so my question is: how should i pronounce these other words? and also is there a steady rule for the silent th?
Good speakers of English always pronounce the “th” followed by an “s” as in words like “strengths” and “Smiths.” This is a very difficult combination of sounds to create. You have to practice moving your tongue quickly and smoothly from the tip of the tongue for the “th” (with a vibration of air) to the position slightly behind your upper teeth (the gum ridge) for the “s.”
However, in today’s speech it has become pretty standard to not do this with the words “months” and “clothes.” Most people drop the “th” and just say “mons” and “close.” Those are the only two words that I can think of where it’s standard and acceptable to take short cuts in pronouncing both of these consonants. Otherwise, standard, educated speech requires that you not take those short cuts.