The letters s and z are called alveolar fricatives, voiced and voiceless, repectively.
Pronounced as /z/
- after a voiced consonant
- dogs, beds, dolls;
- after a vowel sound
- disease, choose, rose;
- between two vowels:
- music, reason, cousin;
- after another s:
- dessert, scissors, possess, dissolve;
Pronounced as /s/
- caps, stops, laughs
To pronounce alveolar fricatives, the the flow of air must be stopped by the block created between the tongue and the alveolar ridge.
- /s/ is voiced, so the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation of the consonant; it is a similar sound to the one that a snake does.
- /z/ is voiceless so the vocal cords do not vibrate during the articulation of the consonant; it is a similar sound to the one that a bee does.
S is pronounced like /z/:
-After a voiced consonant sound
- The voiced consonant sounds are: b, d, g, l, m, n, ng, r, v, y
– After a vowel sound
-If there is a vowel before s and it is followed by e (e.g. -use, -ase, -ose)
- Exceptions: house, mouse, promise
-Between two vowels
-After another s (ss)
S is pronounced as /s/
-After a voiceless consonant sound
- The voiceless consonant sounds are: p, t, k, f, s, th, sh, ch, h
External link to Letter: S-Z exercises (1209).