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Saturday July 25th, 2009
English Pronunciation Podcast 45-
How to Pronounce the Consonant /ʃ/
: This podcast teaches you how to pronounce /ʃ/ with an American accent.


In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce the consonant sound /ʃ/ as in the words "shoe " and "patience."

Pronouncing this consonant can be quite challenging, especially if your first language is Spanish, Korean, Chinese or Japanese. However, this lesson is important for everybody, no matter what your first language is because the American /ʃ/ is somewhat different than the /ʃ/ in most languages .

ThIs consonant is also very common in English and learning to recognize it by its spelling is also an important step in speaking English with a clear American accent.

The focus of this week's podcast is:
  • Learning how to pronounce the consonant /ʃ/ accurately, like a native speaker.
  • Practicing this sound in some key words and common American expressions and idioms.

So let's begin by learning how to pronounce the sound /ʃ/.

How to Pronounce /ʃ/:

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 your tongue should gently touch your back teeth. Create a hole for the air to flow through.
Exhale and feel the air flow over the center of your tongue.

lips: slightly protruded (forward and turned out)

In podcast #32 , we learned about "stop consonants" and "continuant consonants". /ʃ/ is a continuant because the air flows continuously over the center of our tongue.

In podcast #30, we learned about "voiced" and "voiceless" consonants. /ʃ/ is a voiceless consonant because we do not use our voice to make this sound.

Exercise: Listen and repeat: /ʃ/

/ʃ/ ... /ʃ/ ...

Pronunciation Tip:

If you're having trouble pronouncing /ʃ/, remember- it's not the same position as /s/. The major difference is that our tonge tip is further back, slightly lower and less tense than /s/. You want to create a large air hole so that it has a deep warm sound.

Avoid This Mistake:
Many students, think they are pronouncing //ʃ/ correctly but are actually pronouncing it incorrectly because their tongue tip is to far forward and tense.Their /ʃ/ sounds like something between /s/ and /ʃ/ because their tongue tip is too far forward and too high. Therefore, their /ʃ/ sounds like this:

However, the American /ʃ/ should sound like this ...

Listen to the incorrect and then correct pronunciations ....

So be sure your tongue is back and that the the tip is lowered and not too tense, creating a larger than hole for the air to pass through.

Other common mistakes are pronouncing /ʃ/ like /tʃ/ or confusing /s/ with /ʃ/. These will covered in future poodcasts. Today, we just want to focus on making sure our /ʃ/ is exactly like a an American's.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing /ʃ/.
Pay careful attention to your form.

she... ship ... share ... issue ... fashion ... patience... motion... fresh .. cash

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following American expressions and idioms containing /ʃ/:

She's getting in shape. ( in good physical condition)

He runs a tight ship . (manges according to the rules and in an organized manner)

You can crash at my place. (sleep at my home)

Practice is Key!

Learning to speak English with a standard American accent is a gradual process, but if you work at it regularly and practice as often as you can, you're going to improve!

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.
You'll get all the vowels of English, all the consonants, syllable stress lessons, intonation lessons and connected speech!

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!

I specially designed it for that purpose!

Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at:   contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!


After practicing with Best Accent Training daily,
I can say that my English communication has improved 100%. "

- Domingo Ponce Rodriguez- - Marketing Manager USA (Spain)

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