Hi again, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English pronunciation podcast. My name is Mandy and this is our 95th podcast, and our 15th video podcast.
Part one of the sh sound video explained that the sh sound is a continuous consonant, meaning the sound can be held for a long time, (sh sound). The sh sound is created as air travels through the vocal tract between the front of the tongue and the rear of the tooth ridge. Remember, if the tongue is too far forward, an s sound might be created instead. Listen carefully. I'll say the sh sound first, then the s sound.
Part one also talked about the common spellings of the sh sound. The most commonly known spelling is the sh spelling, as in the following:
When we start talking about the sh spelling in suffixes, things get more complicated. Part one mentioned the sh sound in the following suffixes:
-cial/-tial, as in the words special and official
-itious, as in the word nutritious
-tion, as in the word motion
Let's pick up now, where the last video left off. We will begin by talking about the -sion suffix and the helpful pattern to tell you if the letter s is pronounced as an sh sound ar a zh sound. Here we go.
In the -sion suffix, the letter s is pronounced as an sh sound only if it is following a consonant sound other than the r sound. If the -sion suffix is following a vowel sound or r sound, the zh sound is more likely to be used.
Compare the following sets of words.
The first three examples are pronounced with an sh sound because the -sion suffix follows a consonant sound other than an r sound:
The next three examples are pronounced with a zh sound because the -sion suffix follows either a vowel sound or an r sound:
The letters s, t, and c
The letters s, t, and c may be pronounced as the sh sound when they occur immediately before the -ious or -ure suffixes. (Technically, -tious, -cious, and -sure are not suffixes. Therefore, they are being described here as sounds that precede suffixes.)
Here are the details:
The letters t and c are pronounced as the sh sound when they precede the -ious suffix.
The letter s is pronounced as the sh sound when it falls between a consonant sound and the -ure suffix.
The following are examples of the letters t or c before the -ious suffix; they are pronounced with an sh sound:
Next are examples of the letter s being pronounced as the sh sound because it falls between a consonant sound and the -ure suffix:
If the letter s falls between a vowel sound and the -ure suffix, the s is more likely to be pronounced as the zh sound. Here are a few examples:
The sh sound has a few high-frequency non-phonetic words. Non-phonetic words are pronounced differently than their spelling would suggest.
A very high-frequency word to be aware of that is pronounced with the sh sound is the word sure, sure. Besides the word sure, other non-phonetic words include the following:
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