In this lesson, we will learn words with a /z/ sound that are spelt with the letter ‘s’. This lesson is Part Two of Two lessons on the /z/ sound. Listen to Part One.
Here’s a surprising fact: /z/ spelt as ‘s’ is the most common spelling for the /z/ sound.
Before we begin, let’s compare /z/ and /s/. The two sounds are similar because:
/z/ and /s/ are both sibilant sounds(hissing sounds)
What is the difference between the two sounds?
/z/ is a voiced consonant (you hear vibrations coming from the throat)
/s/ is an unvoiced consonant (you hear the sound of air being forced out)
There is also a difference in the manner of articulation between /z/ and /s/. When I pronounce a /z/ sound, the tip of my tongue is down behind my front teeth. In contrast, when I pronounce a /s/ sound, the tip of my tongue points up behind the front teeth, leaving a small gap for air to pass through.
Note on the audio: if you listen closely to the audio examples in this lesson, you will hear that a /z/ at the end of a word sometimes doesn’t like a pure /z/ sound because a small lispy or aspirated sound of air passing out can be heard. This is due /z/ at the end of a word is devoiced. It means the vibrations in the sound are not as strong as when it is a at the beginning of a word.
Now practise your pronunciation with the individual words and example phrases below. Place close attention to your articulation and repeat-after-me as clearly as possible:
Practice /z/ Spelt with ‘s’: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording
Note: the /z/ sounds are in bold in the examples below…
as: as red as a rose
has: has he got his ham sandwiches
those: whose beads are those?
wise: as wise as a wizard
diagnose: doctors diagnose diseases
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