Why was the “th” combination chosen for the “th” sound?

Given that the two “th” sounds don’t actually sound like a combination of “t” and “h” why was that particular combination selected or become adopted by the majority ?


The “TH” being pronounced as an interdental fricative is called digraph, which is a “pair of characters used to write a single phoneme” (a single sound, said in plain words).

EDIT: @z7sg and @mP01; I found the historical course of this sound/letter:

The first one was Greek which had θ (Theta) that had it pronounced as a T (a stop). Many languages, Latin included, used “TH” to write the θ for words loaned from Greek, but since /tʰ/ and /θ/ were not native phonemes in Latin, ‹th› came to be pronounced /t/; so did the other languages (German, etc). Plus, the “th” was preserved.

Later, when Greek changed the θ letter sound from /tʰ/ to /θ/, all the languages that took loan words, changed the sound accordingly which was already written as “th”.


Source : Link , Question Author : mP01 , Answer Author : Community

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