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  1. 5jj's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
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    Re: Pronunciation of verbs (3rd person singular) ending in -s

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Thanks! This is a very interesting discovery to me. I was always told that English didn't have the feature of devoicing voiced consonants word-finally (which is present in Polish - in isolated words). But it seems it happens in some cases. In Polish, we also do not devoice our consonants when a vowel follows.
    Phoneticians will tell us that there are a lot more variations in allophones than most of us, including teachers, are aware of. The very slight differences are not really important (if they were, we'd be more aware of them), though they explain in part why non-native accents in English are so fiendishly difficult to eradicate.

    Each individual 'mispronunciation' cannot be detected by most native speakers, but the cumulative effect makes the speech of all but a gifted few advanced learners of English slightly 'off'.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    Re: Pronunciation of verbs (3rd person singular) ending in -s

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I think it depends on the sound following.

    In: I take six pills in the morning, my /z/ is fully voiced, though shorter than the sound in zeal;
    in I take six pills to stop the pain, my /z/ is at least partly devoiced.

    I think that my /z/ is fully voiced before all voiced consonants, but I'd need a spectogram to be sure.
    In the first, the /s/* is intervocalic**, and so is realized as [z]***. In the second, the /s/ retains its voicelessness**** because of the following unvoiced /t/.

    (To extend to a third case, in 'These pills do help' the /s/* is realized as [z]. This is the case you speculate about in your last sentence - you're not alone in this voicing!)


    PS Lots of slips; I've left them for the record, but here are the corrections:
    * It's /z/
    ** pre of course, not inter-.*****
    *** Because it was /z/ in the first place, nothing surprising happens here. It makes a [z] sound.
    **** Because of the first correction, it doesn't have any voicelessness to retain.

    So many slips Sorry if I've misled you BC!

    PSS *****Except in some dialects, where the /l/ is vocalized - for example . Then it is intervocalic.
    Last edited by BobK; 29-Jan-2011 at 18:56. Reason: added PS and PPS

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