How to Pronounce T and TH consonants – Southern Accent

Hello, and welcome back to SVFF—Southern Vietnamese for Foreigners! Today, we’re tackling a common pronunciation challenge for learners: the Vietnamese consonants ‘T’ and ‘TH’. These sounds can be tricky due to their subtle differences, so let’s break them down step by step.

Understanding the ‘T’ in Vietnamese

The Vietnamese ‘T’ is similar to the ‘T’ in many other languages but has its own unique characteristics:

  • Positioning: The tip of the tongue touches the alveolar ridge, located just behind your upper front teeth.
  • Sound: It is an unaspirated dental stop sound, meaning there’s less air released when you pronounce it compared to its English counterpart. It sounds like a softer, more restrained ‘T’.

Practice Words:

  • : A Vietnamese name
  • Chết: To die (formal)

Learning the ‘TH’ in Vietnamese

The ‘TH’ sound also uses the alveolar ridge but differs in one significant way:

  • Aspiration: Unlike ‘T’, ‘TH’ in Vietnamese is aspirated, meaning you release a puff of air when pronouncing this sound. It’s a bit like the ‘TH’ in “think” or “through” in English but without the vocalization.

Practice Words:

  • Tha: Forgive
  • Thú: Animal
  • Thử: Try
  • Thọ: Longevity

Comparing ‘T’ and ‘TH’

Now, let’s compare the two sounds:

  • /t/: Unaspirated, less air released, softer.
  • /th/: Aspirated, more air released, sharper.

Practice Sentences:

  • Thu goes to the monastery and gradually feels interested.
  • Tú likes to learn about gorillas’ habits.
  • My teacher is innocent like an angel.

Additional Practice with a Poem

To further enhance your pronunciation practice, here’s a poem to help you engage with both sounds in a more creative and memorable way:

  • “I give all my sincere love, Try to find a poem to express my love, From the bottom of my hearts, To become experienced in love.”

Exercise: Listen and Choose

To test your understanding, here’s an exercise where you’ll listen to sentences and choose the correct word based on what you hear. This exercise will help you distinguish between ‘T’ and ‘TH’ in full sentences.


We hope this lesson helps clarify the pronunciation of ‘T’ and ‘TH’ in Vietnamese, making it easier for you to speak accurately and confidently. If you have any questions or suggestions for future videos, please leave a comment below.

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