Tee Aych

I’m becoming little more than a chronicler of meeting anecdotes and other “exciting”, one-off ephemera, but you make do with what you’re given.

Yesterday’s evocative discussion: the “th” sound in the word “booth” or, more specifically, in the plural form “booths”.

The split falls along voiced/voiceless lines of the dental fricative. Basically the difference between the “th” sound in “this” (voiced) and “thing” (voiceless).

In the curious case of “booths”, the obvious voiceless “th” form of the singular seemed wrong for the plural, causing most to use the voiced “th”.

This pronunciation introduces another interesting phonemic differentiation: if you say it voiced, the “s” sounds like “z”; if you say it voiceless, the “s” sounds like “s”.

Get it?
Got it?

Merriam-Webster supports both variations:

Inflected Form(s): plural booths \ˈbüthz, ˈbüths\

So there you have it. “th” the multi-tasker and “booths”-confuser.

Much drier (dryer?) [another post] than I had intended but a fun way to waste an afternoon sounding like a lisping snake.

Happy Thursday!

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