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Saturday October 10th, 2009
English Pronunciation Podcast 49-
How to Distinguish Between the Consonants /dʒ/ and /ʒ/
: This podcast improves your pronunciation by teaching you how to pronounce /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ distinctly and correctly.


In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce the consonants /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ distinctly and correctly.

Learning to hear and say the difference between /dʒ/ as in "virgin" and /ʒ/ as in "version", will make your pronunciation more accurate and will make your accent sound more like a native speaker's.

Depending on what your first language is, you may find it difficult to pronounce and distinguish between these sounds.

More specifically, if your first language is Spanish, French, Korean, Chinese, Japanese or German, you may be confusing these two sounds.

But it's important for everybody, no matter what their first language is, to learn the distinction between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/.

In podcasts #38 and #48 we learned how to pronounce /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ correctly and in full detail.

I recommend that you listen to those podcasts before listening to this one, if you haven't already.

The focus of this week's podcast is:

  • Learning how to hear and say the difference between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ , like a native speaker.
  • Learning and practicing the difference between these two sounds in a special training exercise.

How to Pronounce /dʒ/ :

So let's begin by reviewing how to pronounce the sound /dʒ/ as in "June" and "agent".

Tongue: Press the tip and the blade (front edge) of your tongue against the gum ridge (bump on the roof of your mouth). Press firmly. (The sides of the tongue should be touching the side teeth.) Stop the air flow completely until the pressure builds up and then release your tongue tip quickly as you vocalize..

lips: Protruded slightly. (Forward, pushed outward)

Exercise: Please listen and repeat /dʒ/:

/dʒ/ ... /dʒ/

The difference between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/

The main difference between these consonants is that for /dʒ/, we stop the air flow completely using our tongue tip. Our tongue tip presses up against the gum ridge, stopping the air for a split second. /dʒ/ is a "stop consonant." For /ʒ/ on the other hand, the air flows continuously over the tongue tip. It is a "continunant consonant."

For a more detailed lesson on "stop" and "continuant consonants" see podcast #30.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the consoananst /dʒ/ and /ʒ/, paying careful attention to your form:

/dʒ/ ... /ʒ/

Tips for Accurate Pronunciation of /dʒ/ and /ʒ/:

Tip :When pronouncing /dʒ/ make sure that your tongue tip is on the ridge. A common mistake students make is to not pressing their tongue tip hard enough. This allows air to escape, creating a hybrid sound which is somewhere between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/.

Distinguishing between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/:

Now that we've learned how to pronounce /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ correctly, let's work on developing a clear distinction between these sounds.

We're going to do a special training exercise to help you develop a clear distinction between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words.
The words are exactly the same except that the first contains the consonant /dʒ/ and the second contains the consonant /ʒ/.
Listen and repeat, paying careful attention to the differences in tongue postion and air flow.

/dʒ/             /ʒ/

ledger         leisure

virgin         version

legion        lesion

pledger      pleasure

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following sentences.
These sentences contain words which are very similar in pronunciation. Listen carefully for the difference in the consonant sounds /dʒ/ and /ʒ/
Listen and repeat, paying careful attention to the differences in tongue postion and air flow.

agent ... asian

My agent booked an asian airline.

message... massage

I got your message about the massage.

Mastering the distinction between /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ is an important part of learning to speak English clearly and correctly. To the ears of an American, these two sounds are completely different and distinct .

Learning these sounds is one more important step toward speaking English with a standard American accent.

The best way to learn a new a sound is to practice it slowly.
In fact, the secret to speaking English clearly and quickly is practicing slowly and accurately. Learning to speak English with a standard American accent is 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.

Best Accent Training mp3s contains all the sounds of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
You'll learn how to pronunce the sound of English just like a native speaker and then practice it in words and common expressions and idioms that Americans use all the time.

You'll also get all the vowels of English, all the consonants, syllable stress lessons, intonation lessons and connected speech!
Every lesson comes with a complete transcript (pdf) so you can read along if you want.

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!

Download Best Accent Training today and practice your pronunciation wherever and whenever you want to!

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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