Linguists in the UK say 'th' sounds in English are disappearing

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The Queen's English as spoken in the UK is under attack by immigrants, computers, American television, and youths. Or should we say yoofs? In a report published Thursday, linguistic experts at the University of York predict major changes in Brits' pronunciation of the English language by 2066, the Sun reports.

According to the Telegraph, those changes include the complete disappearance of the voiced dental nonsibliant fricative, also known as the "th" sound. It will be replaced with the "f," "d," and "v" sounds, so "thick" becomes "fick" and "mother" becomes "muvver." Other changes include words like "cute" and "beauty" becoming "coot" and "booty," the "w" and "r" sounds becoming indistinguishable, and the dropping of "l" sounds at the end of words.


Researchers studied 50 years of language recordings and current social media to make their predictions, which the Guardian sums up in a sentence: "I totes fink that car is a booty." (Your Newser editors have no idea why the newspaper didn't change "that" to "dat" in dat example.) Researchers believe the changes will be spurred on by immigrants, who have a hard time pronouncing the "th" sound; the increased use of voice command; the prevalence of the American accent in pop culture; and the fact that most computers are developed in California.

They found that in 50 years, age—not class—will be the biggest determinant of how people speak. “The Queen’s English spoken by Prince George as he grows up is not going to be the same as the Queen’s English spoken by the Queen," RT quotes the study's author as saying. (A Texas woman came out of surgery with a British accent.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Enjoy Your 'Th' Sounds Now, They'll Be Gone by 2066