How to pronounce thesis

Here is a post for those among you who completed (or will complete) a thesis as part of their university degree. In the course of the Bologna Process, many European universities adopted the Anglo-Saxon system of awarding Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. To obtain such a degree, you usually have to complete a corresponding Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis, a written document summarizing your research work (if you in fact carried out research). While the writing of a thesis is by itself a serious endeavour for many students, I have noticed another problem: many non-native speakers pronounce the word thesis incorrectly.

The correct pronunciation is [ˈθiːsɪs] (listen to it here). The part that people often get wrong is the pronunciation of the th, which is the same as in think, thunder, or thing. In my experience, the most common incorrect pronunciations are

#1 [ˈfiːsiːs], dangerously similar to the word faeces (AE: feces, pronounced as [ˈfiːsiːz]),

#2 [‘si:sis], which sounds a lot like the word seizes [‘si:zis], and finally

#3 [‘ti:sis], quite similar to teases [‘ti:zis].

You can listen to these incorrect variations here.

Finally, if you are using German words such as Masterthesis or Bachelorthesis, it seems acceptable to pronounce thesis as [tɛzɪs], listen here, although that makes for a very strange combination because the first parts of these words (Master, Bachelor) are still pronounced in the English way.

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2 thoughts on “How to pronounce thesis

  1. Masters of the University – painful english

  2. How to pronounce th in English – painfulenglish

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