How to pronounce loose & lose
Sometimes pronouncing American English words correctly can drive you crazy.
That’s because the same letter, (in this case the letter S) can have more than one sound.
If you’re a non native speaker who learned English through reading instead of listening, you’re probably not aware of all the spoken patterns.
The sounds of the letter S
To explain what I mean about the letter S having more than one sound, let’s use the words loose & lose.
The adjective loose is pronounced with a /s/ sound. It sounds like luʷse.
The verb to lose is pronounced with a /z/ sound. It sounds like luʷ→ze.
Longer vowel sound
Notice that the /uʷ/ sound is much longer➝ in the word lose.
That’s because it occurs before a voiced /z/ sound.
Using the correct vowel length here is very, very important, especially if you want to speak with a clear American accent!
Here are two sentences you can use to practice the /s/ & /z/ sounds:
1. Did you lose some weight? (luʷ→ze)
2. Yes, and now my pants are too loose! (luʷse)
Learn to use the correct sound
Just this week, I taught the sounds of the letter S to three of my accent reduction coaching clients (a Russian speaker, a Hindi speaker and a Spanish speaker).
All three were very surprised to learn that the S frequently has a /z/ sound.
No one has taught you the rules
There’s no need to feel bad about not knowing all the rules for spoken English.
Only people who’ve taken some accent reduction training would be aware of this.
If clear American English communication is critical for your career success, find out how accent reduction coaching will help you!