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Saturday, September 12th, 2008
English Pronunciation Podcast 47-
Recognizing and Using theConsonant /ʃ/:
This podcast teaches you how to recognize the vowel /ʃ/ by its different spellings and offers practice exercises for using this sound in your everyday speech..


In today's podcast, we're going to learn and practice the various spelling patterns of consonantl /ʃ /. as in the words "ship", "motion" and "tissue".

*I strongly recommend that you listen to podcast # 45 (the consonant /ʃ/) before this one!

The focus of today's lesson is:

  • learning how to recognize /ʃ/ by its spelling.
  • learning the most common spelling patterns and the exceptions.
  • Practicing some of the exceptional spelling patterns in commom American phrases and idioms.


One of the most challenging aspects of learning English pronuciation is that one sound can have a few different speling patterns.
In most languages, there's a direct correspondence between the spelling of a word and its pronunciation. In your native language, the way a word is written is almost always the way it sounds.

Unfortunately this isn' t the case in English.

The only solution to this challenging aspect of English is to learn the main spelling patterns of each sound so that when you encounter a new word you know have an idea of its correct pronunciation.

Spelling Patterns of /ʃ/
The most common spelling pattern of /ʃ/:

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing / spelled with <sh>:

shake... shoe... fashion... cash... wish...

Spelling pattern #2: / spelled <ti> in unstressed endings :
Found in suffixes (word endings) <tion> ,<tial>

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following words containing /ʃ/ spelled <ti>:

caution ... station ... partial ... patient ... potential ...

Spelling pattern #3 / spelled <ci> in unstressed endings :

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following words containing /ʃ/ spelled <ci>

Found in suffixes (word endings) <cian> ,<cial>

musician ... special ... official ... delicious ... appreciate ...

Important Exceptions: strange spellings of /ʃ/ .
Looking at these words, you would never guess they were pronounced /ʃ/, so it's important to memorize them :

Spelling Pattern #4: / spelled <ch> :

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following words containing /ʃ/ spelled <ch>:

Chicago ... machine ... mustache ... Michelle

Spelling Pattern #5: / spelled <su> :

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following words containing /ʃ/ spelled <su>:

sure ... sugar ... insurance ... issue ... tissue ...

One of the best ways to memorize these strange spellings is to use these words in sentences -practice them.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following phrases which contain words with exceptional spellings of /:

I won't sugar coat what happened. (make it sound better than it actually is)
That company is a well oiled machine. (well run, efficient and productive)
She has issues. (emotional problems, usually anger)
Michelle Obama is from Chicago.
It's a sure thing. (It can't fail)

Now that you've become aware of the various spelling patterns of /ʃ/, I encourage you to practice this sound as often as possible.
Look at the spelling patterns discussed in today's podcast and try to think of more examples in which the consonant /ʃ/ is spelled that way.

Practice is Key!

Speaking English clearly and correctly takes a lot of practice.
But with practice you will get it!

The more you practice the vowel sounds, the more you'll develop muscle memory - the ability to say the sound automatically and correctly.

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!

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

Thank you and see you next time!

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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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