The spoken sounds of the letters S and Z can be confusing for non-native English speakers. Here are some techniques for pronouncing the sounds correctly.
- First you must understand the tongue position for the /s/ and /z/ sounds. The tip of the tongue for both sounds is behind your upper gum ridge. The tongue is pointed and slightly curved up.
- Second, you must understand the difference between voiceless and voiced sounds. The /s/ is a voiceless sound. Your vocal chords are relaxed when you make the /s/ sound. The /z/ is a voiced sound. Your vocal chords vibrate when you make the /z/ sound.
- You must also become familiar with all the different spellings for the letters S and Z. Notice that the S has the /z/ sound and the C often has the /s/ sound.
Here are some common spellings for the /s/ sound
s: some, yes, must
ss: class, discuss
c: city, nice , place
sc: science, scary
Here are some common spellings for the /z/ sound
z: size, prize, quiz
zz: dizzy, blizzard
s: busy, because, visit
se: these, cause, lose
s: plays, does, girl's
Here are some Practice phrases:
Remember, the S in each word has a /z/ sound. When you pronounce the S make sure you create a vibration in your vocal chords.
- goes away
- closes at 10:00
- noisy visitors
- doesn't work
- easy does it
- use these
- always late