Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
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Saturday June 20th, 2009
In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce the consonant sound /s/ as in the words "see " and "city."
Pronouncing this consonant is relatively easy. However, many students confuse /s/ with /z/ or /ʃ/. Other students have trouble combing /s/ with another consonant such /m/ as in the word "smart.".
ThIs consonant is very common in English and learning to recognize it by its spelling is an important step in speaking English with a clear American accent.
The focus of this week's podcast is:
So let's begin by learning how to pronounce the sound /s/.
How to Pronounce /s/:
Tongue: Point the tip of your tongue forward to the gum ridge (bump on the roof of your mouth.) Do not touch the ridge. The sides of the tongue should gently touch the side teeth. Create a small hole for the air to flow through
lips: slightly spread.
In podcast #32 , we learned about "stop consonants" and "continuant consonants". /s/ is a continuant because the air flows continuously over the center of our tongue.,
In podcast #30, we learned about "voiced" and "voiceless" consonants. /s/ is a voiceless consonant because don't use our voice to make this sound.
Exercise: Listen and repeat: /s/
/s/ ... /s/ ...
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing /s/.
see... sell ... save ... city ....asset ... receive ... rice ... kiss ..
Exercise : Listen and repeat the following American expressions and idioms containing /s/:
Is this on sale?
He's going to ace his test. (do very well)
Let's cut to the chase. (get right to the main point of our conversation)
Spelling Patterns of /s/
One of the most challenging aspects of learning English pronuciation is that one sound can have a few different speling patterns.
/s/ has a few different spelling patterns. Obviously, <s> is can be pronounced /s/. However, sometimes the letter <s> is also pronounced /z/. This tricky aspect of English spelling will be discussed in detail in a future podcast.
Let's begin by reviewing the main spelling patterns of /s/
<s> see ... send ... spell ... this ... its
<ss> class ... miss ... necessary
<c> (before<i>, <e> and <y>) peace ... city ... recent ... cycle
<sc>( before <i>, <e>) science ... scent ... scissors
<se> (after a consonant) sense . ..course ... false ... lapse
<se> after a vowel
<se> after a vowel is usually pronounced /z/ as in the words "nose" and "tease." However there are exceptions to this rule as illustrated in these words.
house ... mouse ... promise .. use (noun) ... used to ... loose
Now that you've become aware of the various spelling patterns of /s/, I encourage you to practice this sound as often as possible.
Practice is Key!
The more you practice the vowel sounds, the more you'll develop muscle memory - the ability to say the sound automatically and correctly.
Speaking English clearly and correctly takes a lot of practice.
The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:
It's important to have right training tools in order to improve your accent.
That's why I recommend that you check it out my English Pronunciation Course in mp3 format- Best Accent Training mp3s!
No matter what your first language is, Best Accent Training has the lessons you need for speaking English clearly and correctly.
All the sounds of English in one course!
Best Accent Training mp3s contains all the sounds of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
Best of all, Best Accent Training is a fast and easy download that you can put on your mp3 player and take with you wherever you go!
Thank you and see you next time!
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