ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Th-fronting: Talking of This and That

Updated on May 25, 2015

Fink About It

It's been a cockney trait for generations to pronounce words such as "think" and "thank" as "fink" and "fank", and "this and "that" as "vis" and "vat". It's a feature of the accent. But this "feature" has crossed over all the regional accent boundaries and has become commonplace in speech all over Britain these days.

Take Mark Labbett for example. He was born and raised in Devon, which is not renowned for th-fronting. When I hear Mark (on TV quiz show The Chase) offering contestents "firty fousand pounds" I wonder where he picked up the habit. But he's not alone.

I was discussing this very subject with a friend of mine who lives in the Peak District. She has four grown up sons and she maintains that all of them pronounced "th" words correctly as young children, but now in adulthood three of them have adopted th-fronting in their standard speech. The one son who hasn't fallen into the habit has three children of his own (two boys and a girl) and, ironically, his boys have adopted th-fronting despite him trying to teach them otherwise. Fact: it isn't parents who teach their children how to speak; it's their peers. You might set them off in the right direction, but by the time they're teenagers they'll be doing things their own way.

Apparently the th-fronting custom has spread as far north as Glasgow. One theory for this is that the cockney trait is being spread by the highly popular BBC soap Eastenders. This does make sense; you are almost guaranteed never to hear a single "th" sound during an episode of the gritty (some might say depressing) drama. I blame those Mitchell bruvvas. That Phil Mitchell (or "Phiw Mitchoow" as he's known locally), it's all his fault! No, I think Eastenders is probably just a scapegoat.

Food for Fought

The bottom line is, kids are lazy. If they can save themselves a few calories by avoiding placing their tongue between their teeth then they will. The difference these days is they are seldom corrected. When I was a school boy (last century) any child who had a speech impediment was given extra help in the form of elocution lessons. Teachers would immediately pick up on words said incorrectly and set the record straight before it got out of hand. It wasn't done with a view to ridicule the child in any way; it was simply education.

Times have changed, children say "vis" and "vat" (or sometimes "dis" and "dat") and carry it through into adulthood. But is th-fronting such a bad thing? The English language has never stopped evolving; you only have to look at a piece of historic literature to see just how much spelling and grammar have changed over the centuries. But you don't even have to go back that far; just watch an old black and white film. Does anybody really talk like that anymore? Perhaps th-fronting is just part of this ongoing evolution. We must embrace it. Fank you!

How about you?

In your everyday speech, how do you say the word

See results

Please comment. How do you feel about th-fronting? Where do you live and are you aware of this increasing phenomenon? Are you a th-fronter yourself?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alison monroe profile image

      Alison Monroe 

      3 years ago

      I suspect people deliberately speak like the less educated or lower classes because sometimes they want to come from a different place. We don't always want to sound richer or more educated or more privileged than we are: sometimes we want the opposite.

    • Pollyanna Jones profile image

      Pollyanna Jones 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      It drives me potty! We have such a beautiful language, with so many interesting and diverse local dialogues. I cant's stand to see these steamrolled and dumbed down by this moronic trend.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)