How to Pronounce ʃ she and ʒ measure Part 1 American English Pronunciation




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Hi. I’m Denise. Thank you for watching my video. Today I’m going to talk about the two sounds /ʃ/ as in the word she and /ʒ/ as in the word measure. I will talk about how to make these sounds. I will tell you which letters make these sounds and give you example words for each of those letters. I will give you several words to practice with me. Of course, I’ll pronounce them for you first. I will give you some more words to practice which will help you to compare and contrast the sounds /s/ with /ʃ/ and /z/ with /ʒ/. Some people confuse those sounds. I will then give you a short quiz and I will give you some sentences to practice with me. So, let’s get started. We’ll start with how to make these sounds. To make these two sounds, we raise the front of our tongue towards the roof of our mouth. Let’s pretend that my hand is my tongue. This is the front, so I raise the front part here. It’s not the very tip. Don’t curl your tongue like that so that the tip is up. We’re going to raise the front of the tongue towards the roof of the mouth but not touching and also not touching our front teeth. The sides of the tongue can touch the back teeth. Some people do that. That’s fine, but don’t touch the front teeth. So we raise our tongue. Then we have to round our lips, and we push air out over our tongue. Watch while I make the sounds, please. This is the first one /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ the second one. Notice that my lips are rounded, /ʃ/ /ʒ/, /ʃ/ /ʒ/. So my tongue is rather high in my mouth. Again, it’s not touching the roof of my mouth. I’m blowing air out over my tongue through my slightly open teeth, but my lips are rounded. /ʃ/ /ʒ/. The difference between these two sounds is that the top one is voiceless which means that my vocal cords do not vibrate, and the bottom one is voiced which means my vocal cords do vibrate. If you feel your throat area here, (you will be able to hear the vibration) you will be able to feel the vibration of your vocal cords when you make the voiced sound. This is the voiced sound /ʒ/ /ʒ/. Just press lightly around your neck so that you can feel your vocal cords vibrating. When I make the first sound, the voiceless sound, I don’t feel vibration here because my vocal cords are not vibrating. I’m not using my vocal cords here, /ʃ/ /ʃ/. Let’s alternate. First the voiceless sound, no vibration /ʃ/ and the voiced sound, vibration /ʒ/. /ʃ/ /ʒ/ /ʃ/ /ʒ/ she measure. Some people confuse these sounds here with these sounds that I have on the right. Some people confuse the /ʃ/ sound with the /s/ sound, and they may confuse the /ʒ/ sound with the /z/ sound. Both /ʃ/ and /s/ are voiceless sounds, and both /ʒ/ and /z/ are voiced sounds. The biggest difference between these two and these two is the rounded lips. Notice I have written rounded lips above these two. This is /ʃ/ /ʒ/, and lips not rounded for these two, /s/ /z/. Let’s practice these sounds this way. Watch my lips, please, and you try to do the same thing. For these sounds, we will round our lips. For these sounds, we won’t. This is /ʃ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /s/. And now these two /ʒ/ /z/ /ʒ/ /z/ /ʒ/ /z/. Sometimes we see this sound /ʃ/ represented by the letters s-h, and sometimes we see this sound represented by the letters z-h. Well, I’ve written a couple of sentences down here and I’ve used words with the letters s-h. The sentences are to help you remember that these sounds require rounded lips, and these sounds do not have rounded lips. Look at these great sentences. Fish push their lips out. Seals smile. So, fish ends in the /ʃ/ sound, this sound. The word push ends with the /ʃ/ sound. That’s to help you remember you need to round your lips. Fish push their lips out. They might not really do that, but it’s a cute little sentence, right? Seals smile. So, seals and smile start with /s/ and the lips are not rounded. Now I‘d like to talk about which letters make the sounds, and I will give you some example words for each of those letters. Here are some letter combinations which often make the /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ sounds. The letters on this side often make the /ʃ/ sound, and the letters on this side often make the /ʒ/ sound. These first four letter combinations most often make the /ʃ/ sound. They occur most often. And these, they do occur often but not quite as much as these. These are more common. On this side, these first three letter combinations most often make the /ʒ/ sound and these not as often. So, let’s take a look. So we have the letters s-h as in she. S-h almost always makes the /ʃ/ sound. I do have one exception over here, but really most of the time, you can assume that s-h is making the /ʃ/ sound. T-i very often makes the /ʃ/ sound as in ratio or in many other words that end in t-i-o-n, t-i-o-n like ration, so t-i very often makes the /ʃ/ sound. C-i also very often makes the /ʃ/ sound. Here’s one example in the word special. There are many other examples which we will see very soon. S-s-i very, usually makes the /ʃ/ sound as in this word mission. Notice here I have two s’s and an i, almost always /ʃ/, but sometimes when we have one s and an i, we can also get the /ʃ/ sound as in the word pension. Usually, though, if it’s one s and an i, we get the /ʒ/ sound as in vision, but I will give you a few examples where s-i makes the /ʃ/ sound as in pension. S-s-u usually makes the /ʃ/ sound as in issue. Then we can have one s and a u, and in a few words s-u also makes the /ʃ/ sound as in the word sugar. C-h can make the /ʃ/ sound as in the word chef. And then we have a few oddballs down here. X-i as in the word anxious, anxious, so we get the /ʃ/ sound. In the word ocean, we have the letter c or the letters c-e making the /ʃ/ sound. And in this word nauseous, the letter s or s-e is making the /ʃ/ sound. This word, though, also has another pronunciation. It could make the /z/ sound, and there are some related words to this one which can make either sound and some other sounds. So this is a real oddball. These up here are the ones that most commonly make the /ʃ/ sound. But these as I said also can often make the /ʃ/ sound. Let’s take a look at these, alright. Here, we have s-i making the /ʒ/ sound as in vision, s-u making the /ʒ/ sound as in casual. Over here I had it making the /ʃ/ sound, so some of these, when they occur on both sides like this, does mean that you will have to really memorize each word individually. For example, this one is /ʃ/ sugar. This one is cas /ʒ/ casual. But, by having the letters here, you can see or that gives you a clue that you might be getting this sound. G-e often gives us the word beige, especially at the end of a word as it is here. Z-u does not occur real often, but when it does, it’s usually the /ʒ/ sound as in seizure. And here are some oddballs. This one t-i in the word equa…, actually these three can be either /ʃ/ or /ʒ/ but they are usually /ʒ/ so that’s why I put them in this column. This one is equation. It’s almost always the /ʒ/ sound. A few people might pronounce it with a different sound. S-h, this is cashmere. It’s usually pronounced with the /ʒ/ but it can be either. And in this one, x-u makes /ʒ/ as in the word luxury. It can also make the /ʃ/ sound for some speakers. So I know this is a long list of letter combinations, but with some practice I think and in the next section I think you’ll be able to recognize this sound much of the time. Please be aware, though, that these letters and letter combinations can make other sounds as well. For example, c-h can also make the /tʃ/ sound as in the word check or teach, okay, /tʃ/. It can make a /k/ sound as in the word character or chaos. So, and that is the same with many of these others. Yes, they do make other sounds, but very often they make /ʃ/ and /ʒ/. I hope by the end of this video, you will be able to recognize those times when we get these two sounds. By the way, if you are interested in other sounds that some of these letters make, you can look at some of my other videos. For example, I said that c-h can make a /k/ sound. Well, you might be interested in my /k/ video or in my /tʃ/ video and others as well. Let’s take a look at these letter combinations with words in a different organization. I hope that it will help you. Here is another way to look at the letters that often make the /ʃ/ sound. I said that the letters c-i and t-i often make the /ʃ/ sound, and when they make this sound, they often occur in certain word endings. I’ve written some of them up here for you. Here I have some words that end in the letters c-i-a-l, and here I have some words that end in the letters t-i-a-l. C-i-a-l is pronounced /ʃəl/ and t-i-a-l is also pronounced /ʃəl/. These endings are pronounced in exactly the same way. Here we have special, financial, official, and here I have essential, initial, and partial. So I hope you can see that I do have the letters c-i here making the /ʃ/ sound and the letters t-i making the /ʃ/ sound. Well, with these letter combinations, we have the exact same sounds. So, /ʃəl/ /ʃəl/, special, essential, financial, initial, official, and partial. We often also get c-i and t-i in the word endings c-i-a-n or t-i-a-n and this is pronounced /ʃən/. That ending starts with the /ʃ/ sound. So I have electrician, musician, physician, and dietitian. They all end in the /ʃən/ word ending. So again, c-i and t-i are making /ʃ/ as part of this word ending. On this side I have words which end in c-i-a-t-e or t-i-a-t-e. Here I have the word appreciate so, again, the c-i is making the /ʃ/ sound, appreciate, depreciate, depreciate. And over here I have the same sounds, but this time /ʃ/ is being made with the letters t-i. This is initiate and negotiate. So this ending and this ending sound exactly alike. Appreciate, depreciate, initiate, negotiate. Now I have written just c-i-a and t-i-a. Well these letters occur up here as well, cia, tia, but the difference is here they are followed by other letters, not always the letters t-e. Let’s take a look. This is sociable, sociable. So this c-i-a sounds like /ʃə /, /ʃə /. sociable. Here, t-i-a also sounds like /ʃə /, inertia, inertia. Here I have c-i-a followed by tion so I actually have two /ʃ/ sounds in this word, appreciation. There’s another /ʃ/ sound with the t-i, appreciation, and you can see that this is related to appreciate, of course, up here. Over here I have initiation. I also have two /ʃ/ sounds in this word, both made with the t-i, /ʃ/ and /ʃ/, initiation. And this is related to the word initiate up here. And then I have negotiation, also two /ʃ/ sounds in this word. Negotiation is related to negotiate. So down here I have the letters c-i-a or t-i-a followed by other letters. Sociable, appreciation, inertia, initiation, negotiation. And here I’ve written an exception where c-i does not make the /ʃ/ sound. This is the word pronunciation. Here, the c, the letter c is making the /s/ sound, pronunciation. So, these are some examples of word endings when the letters c-i and t-i make the /ʃ/ sound. Here are some examples of words where the letters c-i and t-i are followed by the letter e. The words above the line do have the /ʃ/ sound and the words below the line do not have the /ʃ/ sound. These words are ancient, efficient, sufficient, patient, patience, quotient. Notice that most of these words end in the letters i-e-n-t, so here I have c-i-e-n-t. Here I have t-i-e-n-t. So with this word ending we get the /ʃ/ sound. This one has a slightly different ending. It’s patience. It doesn’t end in the letter t, but the first four letters are the same. This word has two pronunciations. It can be pronounced as /spiʃiz/ with the /ʃ/ sound and also as /spisiz/ with the /s/ sound. /spiʃiz/ is a very common pronunciation and that would be this one, so that’s why I included it in this list. In these words down below, we have some words agencies, cities, and duties which are plural forms of other words. This one, for example, is the plural form of the word city. I’ve written them up here to show you that when we take a singular word like this ending in y and we make it plural, we change the letter y to i-e-s, and in this case, this ending will not sound like /ʃ/. So when I’ve made a plural of a word like this which ends in y, the ending is not the /ʃ/ sound. So these are just examples of words that do not have that sound. This is the plural of the word agency which ends in c-y. This is the word duties. This is the plural of the word duty. Here are two other words which do not have the /ʃ/ sound. This is the word science, so the beginning of this word has s-c and we just get a /s/ sound, this one. Science and society. In this one, the letter c gives us the /s/ sound. But when t-i is followed by e or c-i is followed by e, we very often get the /ʃ/ sound, especially with this kind of a word ending. Here are some more examples of words with the /ʃ/ sound. In each of these three columns up here, the word ends in o-n. Here I have one word, suspicion, which ends in c-i-o-n. The words in this column end in t-i-o-n, and I’ve added some s-i words. The words in this column end in s-i-o-n or two s’s, s-s-i-o-n. Regardless of the spelling, each of these is pronounced /ʃən/. This is suspicion, option, pension, so the pronunciation of these endings is the same. C-i and t-i followed by o-n are pronounced /ʃən/. Suspicion, option, education, information. And s-i-o-n can also be pronounced /ʃən/ as in these two words pension and tension. Previously I told you that the letters s-i can also make the /ʒ/ or voiced sound, and those letters can make that sound. I’ll show you some of those later, but in a few cases s-i makes the /ʃ/ sound. When we have two s’s, though, as I mentioned already, s-s-i, this sound does make the, or these letters do make the /ʃ/ sound. So, this is discussion, profession. So most of the time we get two s’s followed by i to make this sound. In a few cases, we get one s. Let me just read all of these words for you again. Suspicion, option, education, information, pension, tension, discussion, profession. Here’s one exception, the word question. This does not make the /ʃ/ sound. Instead, t-i here makes the /tʃ/ sound. If you are interested in this word or similar words, please see my video about the /tʃ/ sound. Down below here, I have words with different endings. Each of these words down here ends in o-u-s. In this column, I have the letters c-i followed by o-u-s. In this column, I have t-i followed by o-u-s, and here I’ve added x-i followed by o-u-s. These endings all sound the same. They all sound like /ʃəs/. This is delicious, precious, spacious. Here we have ambitious, cautious, nutritious. And these last two are anxious and obnoxious. So the ending all sounds like /ʃəs/. Word endings such as these have the /ʃ/ sound. Here are some examples of words which have the letter s and make the /ʃ/ sound. Over here, I have some words with the letters s-i-a. This first one is pronounced /fjuʃə/. Notice it also has the letters c-h which can also make the /ʃ/ sound. This word has one /ʃ/ sound, so I’ve chosen s-i-a to make that sound, fuchsia. This one is controversial. It can be pronounced with the /ʃ/ the way I just did or also with the /s/ sound, controversial. I pronounce it controversial so I’ve included it here, and that’s a very common pronunciation. It has s-i-a. Notice that this ending, the complete ending has s-i-a-l, and previously I showed you some words with the endings c-i-a-l and t-i-a-l, so this one is very similar. Here is one exception, the word enthusiasm. S-i does not make the /ʃ/ sound in this word. Instead, the letter s makes the /z/ sound, enthusiasm. Here I have some words with the letters s-s-u, and the s’s make the /ʃ/ sound in these words. This is issue, tissue, pressure. They all have the /ʃ/ sound. And here I have two words with the letters s-u and in these words we have the /ʃ/ sound. This is sugar and sure. Notice that this word sure occurs at the end of the word pressure. And here’s an exception. The letters s-u here do not make the /ʃ/ sound. Instead, these two letters make the sounds /s/ and /w/. This word is persuade, persuade, /s/ /w/, suade. So this is an exception. And I have one more word with the letters t-i. In this case, t-i is followed by u. This word can be pronounced consortium with the/ʃ/ sound. It has a second pronunciation which is without the /ʃ/ and instead has a /t/ sound. Here are some examples of words with the letters s-h and c-h which make the /ʃ/ sound. As I said previously, the s-h letters almost always make the /ʃ/ sound. I have given you one exception down here, the word cashmere which is most often pronounced with the /ʒ/ or voiced sound, but it can be pronounced with the /ʃ/ sound. All of these words have the /ʃ/ sound. This is she, shoe, shop, cash, fish, and push, /ʃ/. Here we have words with the letters c-h which make the /ʃ/ sound. This is charade, chef, Chicago, machine, moustache, and brochure. In each of these words, c-h is making the /ʃ/ sound. The letters c-h, however, can also make the /tʃ/ sound and the /k/ sound. I’ve given you a few examples here. These three words make the /tʃ/ sound. This is cheap, check, chew. And these three words make the /k/ sound. This is chaos, character, chrome. If you want more information on these, please see my other videos, my /tʃ/ or my /k/ videos. This video, of course, is about /ʃ/. Here are some words which make the /ʒ/ sound. The /ʒ/ sound is the voiced sound, so we use our vocal cords to make this sound. I’m finished with the /ʃ/ or voiceless sound for now, just for now. These two words have the letters s-i-a in them. This one is amnesia, /ʒ/, and anesthesia. So both of these words have the voiced /ʒ/ sound. Here are some words with the letters s-i-o. We have seen these letters before, but this time s-i-o is making the /ʒ/ sound. Previously when we saw these letters, they were making the voiceless /ʃ/ sound. So these are the voiced sound. This is version, vision, confusion, decision, television. So in each of these, s-i is making /ʒ/. Now I’ve made some notes down here for you because we have previously seen s-i. When we have one s, we usually get the /ʒ/ sound, and that’s what I have up here. Notice in each of these words, we have only one s. So when we have one s, we usually get /ʒ/, this sound. But, sometimes when we have one s, sometimes we get /ʃ/, the voiceless sound, and we saw this previously with the word pension. This has the /ʃ/ voiceless sound. When we have two s’s, we get /ʃ/, and we saw this previously in the word profession. Here are some more words with letters that make the voiced /ʒ/ sound. Here I have words with the letters s-u, and here I have words with the letters g-e. We have seen the letters s-u already when they made the /ʃ/ voiceless sound as in the word sugar. Here they’re making the voiced sound. This word is casual. This is usual and this is measure. So, they’re all making this /ʒ/ sound, and these two letters very often make the /ʒ/ sound. By the way, when we have these words contained in other words, they still make the /ʒ/ sound. For example, I could have the word casually. It has /ʒ/. I could have unusual or I could have usually. I could have the word measurement. So we still get the same sound for the s-u. Here we have three words with the letters g-e, and the g-e in each of these makes /ʒ/. This is beige, collage, mirage These letters often make the /ʒ/ sound. These below don’t occur as frequently. These occur frequently. These two words have the letters z-u. We have seizure and azure. Here we have two words with the letters x-u. This is luxury. This is luxurious. Actually, these two words can be pronounced in two ways. The letter x makes two sounds and with the x-u, we can either get the two sounds /g/ and /ʒ/ which are both voiced. That’s the way that I pronounced these two words. Or, we can get the two voiceless sounds /k/ and /ʃ/. Some speakers do pronounce these two words with the voiceless sounds. So let me pronounce these both for you. First, I will use the voiced sounds, and this is the pronunciation that I use. This is luxury. This is luxurious. Let me say that again. Lug, it’s the /g/ sound, lug, /ʒ/ury, luxury. Lug /ʒ/urious. We don’t stress the /g/. I’m just doing it so you can hear it. And the pronunciation with the two voiceless sounds would be luxury and luxurious, /k/ /ʃ/, luk /ʃ/ury, luk /ʃ/urious, but I pronounce them this way. This is just one exception to the pronunciation of the letters t-i. This word, equation, the t-i sounds like /ʒ/, equation. If you’d like information on other sounds that these letters can make, please see my other videos. I have lots of videos with the letter s, the letter g, the letter x, the sounds /g/ and /k/ and many others. Please take a look if you’re interested.