This tough word begins with the THR consonant cluster. Learn how to practice this word by breaking it down sound by sound, knowing what’s stressed and what’s not. Then put it all together to feel confident using this word in American English conversation.
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over the pronunciation of the word ‘thrifty’.
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This week’s Word of the Week is ‘thrifty’. Thanks so much to the fan who suggested it!
This is a two syllable word with stress on the first syllable. Thrifty, DA-da.
It begins with the TH-R consonant cluster. You must put your tongue tip through the teeth to make this TH, th, th. This is the furthest forward the tip of the tongue will be for any sound in American English, th, th. Then we pull it back so the tip of the tongue is the furthest back it will ever be in American English, and that’s for the R consonant sound. So you tongue goes from stretching a little bit to pulling into itself a little bit. The tongue should pull back and up, the front part won’t be touching anything, and the middle, rr, will touch the roof of the mouth or insides of the teeth about here. Thr-, thr-. You’ll see my lips will round some, like when a word begins with an R. Thrifty.
Next we have the IH as in SIT vowel, so the jaw will drop just a little bit. The tongue will come forward again so the tip can be touching the back of the bottom front teeth. Thri-. The front part of the tongue will reach up towards the roof of the mouth a bit, here. Thri-. Thrifty.
Now we have the FT consonant cluster. If the word stopped here, thrift, I would definitely say, make that True T. Thrift. But in studying this word, I notice that most native speakers will make more of a Flap T in the -fty ending. Thrifty, fifty, nifty, softy. So, we make the F by bringing the bottom lip up so the inside of it can touch the bottom of the top front teeth lightly. Thrif-. My tongue tip is down. Thrif-ty. Now it will bounce against the roof of the mouth, and I won’t really stop the air. Thrifty. When the tongue moves up, the bottom lip relaxes so it’s no longer in position for the F. Thrifty. Then the tongue comes back down so the tip is again behind the bottom front teeth, and the front part of it reaches up so it’s very close to the roof of the mouth for the EE vowel. Thrifty, thrifty. The corners of the lips may pull a little wide for that EE vowel. Thrifty. Make that second syllable as short as you can, because it’s an unstressed syllable: -ty, ty. Thrifty.
It’s hard to be thrifty.
Here it is in slow motion.
If there’s a word you find difficult to pronounce, suggest it in the comments.
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