S and Z are very common sounds in English. Typically, we pronounce the S sound when you read a letter S and a Z sound when you read the letter Z.
But, (isn’t there always a “but” with English reading and pronunciation?) the letter S is often pronounced as a Z sound. Yes, you read that correctly, the letter S is often pronounced as a Z sound. This leads to many mispronounce words.
How do you know what to say? Here are a few quick rules to follow:
- Say the Z sound when you see a letter Z.
- Pronounce the letter S as a Z sound when the S is between two vowels like in the words cousin, music, and reason.
- Pronounce verbs ending in a SE then silent E as the Z sound. You hear this in arouse, appease, choose.
- Pronounce verbs ending in a SE (silent e that makes the vowel long) as the Z sound. You hear this in the words these, those, phrase.
- Pronounce the -S at the end of a word as the Z sound if the root word ends in a voiced sound. This is the case in tabs, pans, and Ken’s.
- Pronounce the -S at the end of a word as IZ if the root word ends in a strident or hissing sound like S, SH, CH, J. This is the case in misses, wishes, church’s, and judges.
- Memorize common function words that have the letter S pronounced as a Z. This is the case in the words is, has, was, his.
Want to learn more?
Check out Tarle Speech Udemy Courses