How to Pronounce S & Z in American English
Im my accent reduction coaching program I frequently teach my clients importance of pronouncing /s/ & /z/ correctly.
The /s/ and /z/ sounds are made with the same tongue position.
- The tip of the tongue is behind your upper gum ridge.
- The tongue is pointed & slightly curved up.
The /s/ is a voiceless sound. Your vocal chords shouldn’t vibrate strongly when you say /s/.
The /z/ is a voiced sound. Your vocal chords should vibrate strongly when you say /z/.
The Letter S Often Sounds Like /z/
One important fact that most people don’t realize is that the letter S often has a /z/ sound!
Here are some common words where the letter S has a /z/ sound.
- busy, because, easy, visit
- these, cause, lose
- plays, goes, does, girl’s
There are thousandz more!
Why Is It So Important to Use a /z/ Sound?
When you say an /s/ sound at the end of a word instead of a /z/ sound, Americanz won’t alwayz hear the sound clearly.
When they don’t hear the /z/ sound, they’ll think that you don’t know how to use pluralz & verb tensez.
If you are a professional person, you really don’t want that to happen!!! ☹
Learn the Rules
To learn the rules for pronouncing the /s/ & /z/ sounds, and other American English sounds, check out the American English pronunciation books HERE.