Unit 3.1

Letter: S-Z

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Introduction

The letters s and z are called alveolar fricatives, voiced and voiceless, repectively.

Form

Uppercase Lowercase Phonology
S s /s/

/z/

Example

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

Use

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

Exercises

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