Is Cambridge's British pronunciation <youth> correct?


Is the online Cambridge Dictionary's British pronunciation <youth> correct?

UK /juːθ/

YOUTH | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Sorry, you will have to click the link to listen to the UK sound, which seems to be more like /juːz/ than /juːθ/ and my iPhone's Siri keeps writing it out as "use" rather than youth (while listening to Oxford dictionaries, Siri correctly spells it as "youth":
youth | Definition of youth by Lexico

The question of this thread is what the Cambridge UK "youth" sounds in your ear (or your iPhone). Use or youth? Simply writing the result done here will be appreciated.
  • Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It does not sound at all like "use" to me. However it is not a good recording and I think the microphone has added some sibilance.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Sounds like an obvious /ju:θ/ to me.

    The AE one almost sounds like it ends in an s.


    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    It's something that was learned in computer recognition of speech: native speakers are careless. Native speakers do not pronounce every single phoneme so that each phoneme is understandable. Scientists gave up "identifying phonemes" in the 1990s, and switched computer speech recognition to "identifying word and phrase patterns". That is what human listeners do. Native listeners "auto-correct" slurred, omitted or wrong phonemes.

    In your Cambridge example, the UK speaker sounded like "youth-th" to me. But the US speaker could have said either "youth" or "use". I heard both words, when I listened several times. But in a sentence "youth" and "use" never appear in the same place, so it isn't a problem for me.

    It is a problem when learning to speak a foreign language. We can't "auto-correct" until we know thousands of words and phrases very well.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    The Cambridge one sounds almost the same as the WR one, not quite so distinct but quite definitely nothing like 'use' the noun. Of the WR choices, the least distinct to my ear is the Scottish one.
    The learner will encounter many native-speaker variations from the screamingly obvious of dialect and accent, to the barely detectable depending solely on the speaker's dentition.
    Used correctly in context the word will be understood.
    It would be a good idea for a learner who really can't distinguish between sounds to make an attempt to train the ear to do so using a range of exercises but including in context. Hearing a distinct theta as 's' is surprising for an advanced learner unless the spoken language has not been taught and practised.