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  1. #1

    get confused with ending word "s"

    I'm a Newbie here. So first of all, I wanna say Hi with all of members in this 4rum.
    here is my problem:
    I find it very confused when I do pronounciation tasks, esp. in finding out the difference between the words ending with "s". I dun know they're pronounciated "z" or "s"...
    E.g :
    A. months
    B. paths
    C. wreaths
    D. youths
    Could you give me any hint on doing this kind of exercise to differentiate those more correctly.
    Many thanks in advance

  2. matilda

    Talking Re: get confused with ending word "s"

    welcome to this site
    there are lots of books that can help you about pronunciation. especially books about phonology, linguistics and some other books.
    as we live in different countries, i can not certainly tell you what exact book you can buy. but you can ask your teacher to tell you the name of one or some useful books

    • Join Date: Nov 2006
    • Posts: 4

    Re: get confused with ending word "s"

    The difference in words with "s" just means more then one usually. Month = 1, Months = 2 or more.

    When words have a "th" at the end that is similar to the "f" sound (similar, NOT the same), and then the "s", it sounds like a cross between s and z. Its not something I would worry about a lot and most people wont be able to tell the difference unless you spoke with a strong british or american accent.

    my own accent (irish) makes it sound more like "z".

  3. Ouisch's Avatar
    Key Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 4,142

    Re: get confused with ending word "s"

    Usually a final "s" to indicate a plural has a "zzz" sound. But in words ending in "th", the "s" maintains is traditional "ssss" sound. The combination of "th" plus "s" is quite an exercise for the tongue, so don't worry about it too much. It's more noticable when people forget the "zzz" sound on traditional plural words, for example "shoessss" instead of "shoezzzz."

  4. #5

    Re: get confused with ending word "s"

    It's [s] if it's proceeded by a voiceless consonant, [z] if a voiced one. Unfortunately "th" can be either voiced or unvoiced, and it isn't indicated in the orthography.

  5. #6

    Re: get confused with ending word "s"

    thanks for your help.

  6. AlainK

    Re: get confused with ending word "s"

    The difference between voiced/voiceless consonants is essential, and we sometimes have fun with my pupils explaining the difference: I ask them to put their fingers on their throats and make sssszzzzsssszzzzssss sounds.
    It's a bit like a Tibetan mantra after a while...
    They can feel the difference and then, understand how "t" is different from "d", etc.
    Very useful for -ed endings too :
    - missed/buzzed, slapped/grabbed, ... but : shouted, decided, etc.
    Similar to :
    - bets/beds, pats/pads,... but glasses, freezes, judges, etc.

    I'm always short of examples of the "cloth/clothes" type though...

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