Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    873
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default pronounciation of z sound

    Some of the words in which 's' is pronounced /z/ sounds,such as chosen, cousin, reason, poison and raisin etc. Are there any rules or guidelines regarding this pronounciation?

    Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronounciation of z sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Some of the words in which 's' is pronounced /z/ sounds,such as chosen, cousin, reason, poison and raisin etc. Are there any rules or guidelines regarding this pronounciation?
    Unfortunately not.

    Generally, s at the beginning of a word is pronounced /s/. it is never pronounced /z/, but is /ʃ/ in sugar, sure.

    If it is preceded by a vowel and followed by an unvoiced consonant, it is normally /s/ - paste.
    If it is preceded by a vowel and followed by a voiced consonant, it is nomally /z/ - Thursday.

    There are so many exceptions to any other rules you may encounter that they are not worth noting.

    Sorry.

  3. #3
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,458
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronounciation of z sound

    As someone who has learnt the "correct" British English pronunciation at a later age, I can say that it's really not worth it to memorise a bunch of rules. As already pointed out by 5jj, there are so many exceptions, which makes it a real waste of time. You really have to learn how to pronounce each word as a separate entity.
    Once you know how to pronounce a number of words, you then can make safe predictions on how to pronounce an unknown word. But occasionally, as in my case, you will come across words that you will mispronounce. A couple of days ago, I came across the word "beaded", which I didn't know how to pronounce. There are so many words and there is only a limited number of generalisations that can be made.

    Edit: regarding the s/z question, here's another word that you may not have considered yet. There are two different pronunciations of the word "resource". It's pronounced rɪˈːs in BrE, but ˈriːːrs in AmE.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 22-Jun-2012 at 23:13.

  4. #4
    raindoctor is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Swahili
      • Home Country:
      • Kenya
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    179
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronounciation of z sound

    1. A bit of history. If you look at English alphabet, v and z are in the end. In Old Eng, there were no v and z. That means, f and s were voiced intervocalically. Modern English replaced intervocalic voiced f with v. This change is not complete with respect to s/z and voiced/voiceless th.

    2. French -ce also introduced widespread random spelling variations: cf advice and advise; mouse and mice

    3. Final s inflection occurred more often in Middle Eng than in OldEng. Now you need to distinguish plurals from non-inflected ones: peace vs peas; since vs sins. Epenthesis is another relevant phenomenon you should note here: sin[t]ce vs sins. Epenthesis helps to keep the voiceless. Stress is another trick to avoid epenthesis: con'serve vs ,con[t]ser'vation; American 'prin[t]cess vs BrE prin'cess; Br 'tram,car

    4. Lets look at another nasal m. You can see epenthetic p in the spelling itself: Sampson, sempstress, Thompson, resumption,ham[p]ster.

    5. Then, you have words like whimsical, clumsy, flimsy, etc, where s is voiced.

    6. -ive: cursive, elusive, reclusive, etc. Here < s > = /s/

    7. -rsion: excursion, conversion, etc. < s > = /zh/

    8. -lsion: convulsion, etc. < s > = /sh/

    9. < ss > is another trick used in ModE to distinguish voiced plural s of bras from the voiceless s of brass. This is also used medially: cf. fossil, blossom, brass, crass, gross, grass, etc. Apply another phonological process to get /sh/ from < ss >: cf mission, remission, etc

    10. < sl > and <ls>. In AmE, s is not voiced: Wesley, Lesley, Chrysler, Chelsea, Tulsa (OK), else, etc. Grisly has [z] in AmE. In some American Dialects (esp in Iowa), you can hear an epenthetic stop: el[t]se. In Utah, I heard it is common: al[t]so, sal[t]sa, Chel[t]sea, etc. This is an instance where one can speak of General American accent, an accent that has features that exist in major areas of the states, and not worry about features like post-lateral epenthesis like this. The grapheme cluster < lth > also works like <ls>: filthy, healthy, etc.


    11. Whether < s > is voiced or not is a feature of the dialect itself in some cases. Cf. greasy

    12. This one includes the intervocalic voicing or sibilant softening.

    s --> z/V_{V/m}, where the second V is stressed.

    Vsm: dismal, plasma, spasm, etc.

    13. Whether s gets voiced or not depends on the nature of boundaries. + is an internal lexical boundary. # is an internal word boundary.

    dis+ease vs dis#mount
    re+serve vs re#serve (in the latter, s is not voiced, and the first vowel is /i/)
    re+sign vs re#sign (the latter means re sign that paper)
    All words starting with dis- except disease and dissolve have unvoiced s. You can explain it away with #.

    14. Someone can still get confused and apply intervocalic voicing in words like bison, venison, Larry Ellison, Allison, Edison, Addison publishers, basin, comparison, garrison, unison, etc. These words are pronounced with voiceless s. Some of these words may have voiced variants as well: unison.

    The lesson is this. Either you have to be a native speaker (in which case, you have lots of empirical data and you don't need to systematize what you know) or you need to learn the linguistic and phonological history of English (in which case, you need to have tools to systematize what you don't know).
    Last edited by raindoctor; 23-Jun-2012 at 03:27.

  5. #5
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    873
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronounciation of z sound

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Unfortunately not.
    If it is preceded by a vowel and followed by a voiced consonant, it is nomally /z/ - Thursday.

    There are so many exceptions to any other rules you may encounter that they are not worth noting.

    Thanks a lot, 5jj, chicken sandwich & raindoctor.

    Dear 5jj,

    1. Does it mean the vowel sound in "Thursday" is 'ur'?

    2. If a word preceded by a vowel and followed by a vowel, is it normally /z/ ?

    3. Because there are so many exceptions, does it mean that the only way is to look up the dictionary?

    4. Do the native speakers learn the /z/ sounds from nature (i.e. when they are babies)?

    5. Regarding to the pronunciation of final sound of s , /z/after voiced consonants except /z,ʒ, ʤ/, vowels and diphthongs: /hʌgz, siːz,leIz/. Are there many exceptions too ? Please note that I can't read IPA. Are they not worth noting too?

    6. As you have ample teaching experience, do you notice that non-native speakers usually not pronounce the /z/ sounds correctly? I know that there are many non-native speakers do in these forums.

    I take this opportunity to thank you for your help in the past. Many thanks, 5jj.


    Last edited by Winwin2011; 23-Jun-2012 at 04:47.

  6. #6
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    873
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronounciation of z sound

    Duplicated

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: pronounciation of z sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    1. Does it mean the vowel sound in "Thursday" is 'ur'?
    /ɜ:/, the sound
    in bird, burred, Thursday, her, heard, myrtle, myrrh, worse, masseuse connoisseur, is a vowel. If the spelling of the sound includes the letter r, that letter is not pronounced in BrE, unless it is followed by a vowel: her aunt.

    2. If a word preceded by a vowel and followed by a vowel, is it normally /z/ ?
    Not necessarily; see some of the words in raindoctor's post.

    3. Because there are so many exceptions, does it mean that the only way is to look up the dictionary?
    Yes

    4. Do the native speakers learn the /z/ sounds from nature (i.e. when they are babies)?
    Children learn all sounds from what they hear. Don't forget, for the first five or so years of their lives, they can't read, so they are not aware that a single letter can represent two or more sounds.

    5. Regarding to the pronunciation of final sound of s as a plural and third person singular present tense ending; it is:
    /z/after voiced consonants except /z, ʒ, ʤ, /, vowels and diphthongs: /hʌgz, siːz,leIz/,
    /s/ after unvoiced cononsants except
    /s, ʃ, ʧ/,
    /ɪz/
    after/z, ʒ, ʤ, s, ʃ, ʧ/

    Are there many exceptions too ? No. At the moment, I can think of only one - The third person singular form of HAVE TO, has to, is pronounced with an /s/ sound..
    5

Similar Threads

  1. Pronounciation of k sound in electricity
    By anhnha in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-May-2012, 07:16
  2. pronounciation of ending sound
    By Winwin2011 in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 05-Aug-2011, 11:01
  3. When your natural pronounciation gives the wrong sound
    By cloa513 in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 08-Jul-2010, 13:59
  4. Double T sound, T sound, th sound
    By sentinel1818 in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Jan-2010, 03:17
  5. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 18-Nov-2006, 02:30

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •