Pronunciation Tips / S / endings
Last month we briefly looked at voiced and unvoiced consonants – remember?
The consonants with the blue dots (below) are unvoiced and the consonants with orange dots are voiced.
Again, as previously mentioned, voiced means that your vocal cords vibrate and if a consonant is unvoiced the vocal cords do not. Basically, if it is unvoiced more air is needed to make the sound.
Put a piece of paper next to your mouth and say the sounds / p / and / b /. You’ll notice that the paper moved when you say the / p /. This happened due to the air pressure coming out of your mouth (unvoiced) – thus the paper moving from your air needed to produce the sound.
Practise with some of the other voiced and unvoiced consonants – the same thing to the paper should happen every time when you say an unvoiced sound.
Now, let’s look at / s / endings. / S / endings.
/ S / endings can be pronounced three ways –
- with an / S / sound – like the sound a snake might make – ssssssssssssss
- with a / Z / sound, – like the sound of a bee – zzzzzzzzzzzzz
- with and / IZ / sound – similar to the way you say / is /
/ S / endings can show if something is singular or plural or can show subject verb agreement.
Look at this list:
What do you notice about the way we pronounce the / s / in the above words?
Say the word ‘book’ and concentrate on the / k / ending -is it voiced or unvoiced?
Put a piece of paper over your mouth and try saying the / k / sound, did the paper move? – Yes, it did – it is unvoiced, meaning a lot more air is needed to produce the sound, thus the paper moving.
Now say the plural of book – books – the / s / is pronounced like the sound of a snake ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
So all unvoiced endings sound with an / S / if the
- Hubs The bold sounds are all unvoiced so the / S / is pronounced S
Now let’s look at this word ‘bean’.
Concentrate on the / n / ending – is it voiced or unvoiced? Put a piece of paper over your mouth again and try saying the / n / sound, did the paper move? – No, it didn’t, its voiced.
Now say the plural of bean – beans. The / S / is pronounced with a / Z / The noise a bee makes – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
- Moods The bold sounds are all voiced so the / S / is pronounced Z
Now let’s look at the final way we pronounce the / S / in word endings. The final / S / sound is pronounced similar to the word / IZ / and an extra syllable is added to the word.
Look at the word / brush / the final sound is / ʃ /.
Your mouth and tongue are in the / S / position already so we can’t add another / S / to that so we add / IZ / to make it plural. Of course we also add another syllable.
If these sounds are found at the ends of words we always add an / IZ / – don’t forget it adds an extra syllable.
/ ʃ / wash washes / s / miss misses
/ ʒ / age ages / z / close closes
/ ʧ / catch catches / ʤ / edge edges
Now lets practise:
These are some more things which Alice Les and Liz do. But who does what? Add /(e) s/ and then write them in the correct column – Alice / Les / Liz.
We’ll look at the answers next month and discuss / ed / endings.