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Thread: Pronunciation

  1. #1
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Pronunciation

    Hello,

    could you explain me the rules or refer me to a source where I might find out the correct pronunciation of plural endings /-s/? Where do we tend to say /-s/ and /-z/? Do we say fleas as /fli:z/ or /fli:s/? Why? Are the rules the same as with 3rd person singular of the verbs in the present simple?

    Thanks for any kind of help.

    Take care...

    Waawe

  2. #2
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Gads but do I ever hate "rules"! But, you asked!


    1. If the noun ends in an unvoiced consonant sound: /f/, /k/, /p/, /t/, /th/-(thin), pronounce "s" as /s/.

    2. When it ends in a voiced consonant sound, /b/, /d/, /g/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /ng/, /r/ or with a vowel sound, /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/, pronounce "s" as /z/.

    3. If it ends with /s/, /z/, /sh/, /ch/-chair, /zh/-the second "g" in garage, /dz/-(j), pronounce "s" or "-es" as /iz/.

    In other words, if the noun ends with a sound other than the 5 unvoiced consonants, pronounce "s" with a /z/ (or with an /iz/ as the case may be).

  3. #3
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    Gads but do I ever hate "rules"! But, you asked!


    1. If the noun ends in an unvoiced consonant sound: /f/, /k/, /p/, /t/, /th/-(thin), pronounce "s" as /s/.

    2. When it ends in a voiced consonant sound, /b/, /d/, /g/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /ng/, /r/ or with a vowel sound, /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/, pronounce "s" as /z/.

    3. If it ends with /s/, /z/, /sh/, /ch/-chair, /zh/-the second "g" in garage, /dz/-(j), pronounce "s" or "-es" as /iz/.

    In other words, if the noun ends with a sound other than the 5 unvoiced consonants, pronounce "s" with a /z/ (or with an /iz/ as the case may be).
    Thanks, Great job!!! Do the same rules apply to 3rd person singular in the present simple? Just making sure...


    Waawe

  4. #4
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    By the way, do native speakers respect and stick carefully to the correct pronunciation or do they tend to pronounce it sloppily? Iam asking as in the Czech language, we also have similar sounds which should be pronounced differently, but we usually pronounce them the same, their meaning being drawn from the context, such as in the words 'let' for 'flight' and 'led' for 'ice'. Most Czech people, me included, will pronounce both of them the same /let/ without anyone noticing.

    How about in English? Will English people raise their eyebrows dazed hearing the wrong /fli:s/ for 'fleas' or they won't take any notice?

    Thanks for expanding my horizons. This is a great site.

    Good day...

    Waawe

  5. #5
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Native speakers are not noted for sticking carefully to the proper pronunciation of anything, but simple plurals are something that you pick up very early and I suggest that most everyone, British or American/Canadian/Australian, will use the same sound for the same plural endings, regardless of accent, or despite their tendency otherwise to mispronounce other words.

    When native speaking comedians imitate a non-native speaker's speech, they will often emphasize the wrong word endings or sounds, as a comic device.

    However, if you were speaking to a clerk in a store and used the wrong sound at the end of an otherwise perfectly understandable word, I seriously doubt you would see or hear anything in response other than, "Will that be cash or charge, sir?"

    The only problem is when he different ending changes the word entirely; fortunately we are adept at translating based on context.

    Fleas or Flees pronounced with a z ending is a blood-sucking bug infestation or an escape (he /fleeze/ prison); but change the last sound to a s and you get the wool of a sheep (a fleece-lined coat).

  6. #6
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Thanks for this really valuable and interesting entry. Seems English native speakers pick up the pronunciation quite naturally and completely, unlike Czech people distorting their own language at times. (I even suspect that if I, in some cases, pronounced the Czech word 100 % correctly, I would look odd to the others, or at least my Czech archaic. )Obviously, its easier to pick up the sound when youre surrounded by correctly pronouncing people than learning from books and occasionally from the radio or TV.

    Could you, please, confirm the same rules as above also apply to 3rd person singular, in the present simple? I guess so, just want to be sure.

    Thanks for your patience.

    Cheers.

    Waawe

  7. #7
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Yes, they would. I see no reason for any difference. The added sound is simply based on the final sound of the original word.

    Why don't you test yourself. Write down a list of words, and then add a /s/, /z/, or /iz/ after them for the plural SOUND.

    This will get you started:

    Shoe
    Street
    Hedge
    Deer
    Goose


    ...okay, I was trying to trick you there on the last ones, but you get the idea...

  8. #8
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    You prankster! Yeah, I got them all right. Thank you. Ill try to refine both my Czech and English too. Im gonna let you relax now.

    Best wishes and good day to you, jlinger.

    Waawe

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Mind you, goose can be a verb, so it can have the -s form.

  10. #10
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Mind you, goose can be a verb, so it can have the -s form.
    I would never...

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