With occasional exceptions. Some people pronounce the second C in "electricity" /z/. I have a feeling there are other words like that, but I can't think of any right now.Babbsagg wrote:(I know it's always /z/ when written with "Z" and always /s/ when written with "C")
Yep. There may be exceptions, but none are coming to mind.Babbsabb wrote:Word-initial: S is always /s/.
That second rule is incorrect. Between vowel letters, S is often pronounced /z/, but /s/ also becomes common after voiced consonants; and between vowel letters at morpheme boundaries and in some borrowed vocabulary.Babbsabb wrote:Mid-word:
- next to a voiceless consonant, it's /s/
- otherwise, it's /z/
I'd change your first rule to "after a vowel, it's /s/". The /z/ realization is mainly limited to inflectional suffixes. Speaking of which, you can more accurately describe those by changing your fourth rule to "inflections not preceded by a voiceless consonant: always /z/". I also am not familiar with your last rule. It may be dialect-specific.Babbsagg wrote:Word-final:
- after a vowel, it's /z/
- after a voiced consonant, it's /z/
- directly after a voiceless consonant, it's /s/
- inflection realised with an additional vowel (e.g. "kisses", "buses", "clinges" (clinches?), "punches") : always /z/
- /z/ becomes /s/ if the next word starts with a voiceless consonant
I'd just say these need to be learned. Each root seems to have a more common realization in derivations, but may have exceptions. (-sist - /s/, but "resist" - /z/; -serve - /z/, but "conserve" - /s/)Babbsagg wrote:- "insist" is realised with /ns/ instead of /nz/ (Latin word stem etc.) , while "resist" is realised with /z/, for historical reasons I'm told (introduced in English from French instead of Latin)
It may be a bit of both these things. There's an occasional alternation between voiceless consonants in non-verbs and voiced ones in verbs derived from them.Babbsagg wrote:- "close" (adj.) is allegedly realised with /s/ but "close" (verb) with /z/, because the latter ends in theory with a vowel ...does that mean the verb once ended with a vowel that later disappeared, but the /z/ stuck? Or is there some sort of "tendency" to /z/ in verbs and /s/ in adjectives? Or what is this about?
Fixed by my change to your first word-final rule.Babbsagg wrote:- by the rules I'm told, "this" should be /z/, but is /s/
"Mantis is explained by my edit to your first word-final rule. Can't say anything about the other two until I know whether you consider the S's word-final or not.Babbsagg wrote:- likewise with "purpose", "mantis", "nurse"
"Us", also falls under the first word-final rule. The S in "is" is just an irregular inflectional suffix, so it's governed by my edit to your fourth word-medial rule.Babbsagg wrote:- "is" is pronounced with /z/, but "us" with /s/ (except if unstressed)
Can't speak to that. It may be a feature of whatever dialect you're hearing.Babbsagg wrote:One final thing: sometimes it seems to me that native speakers don't strictly adhere to the rules either (unless I'm mishearing): "Wales" is officially /z/, but usually it sounds like /s/ to me.
As far as I know it is always /s/ here.Babbsagg wrote:$$Word-initial: S is always /s/. No matter how I long I searched the internet for an answer, I couldn't find one. I had to ask English-speaking people myself. Apparently it's universally taken for granted, which isn't helpful to a German-speaking learner.
This is just assimilation and not a phonemic thing, I think.- /z/ becomes /s/ if the next word starts with a voiceless consonant
When you see a word-final silent <e>, often it was once a schwa (and before that, a full vowel). But sometimes it's just to make the word look pretty or something. I don't know of any rule here. You just have to memorize these words.- "close" (adj.) is allegedly realised with /s/ but "close" (verb) with /z/, because the latter ends in theory with a vowel ...does that mean the verb once ended with a vowel that later disappeared, but the /z/ stuck? Or is there some sort of "tendency" to /z/ in verbs and /s/ in adjectives? Or what is this about?
Function words that are common often have exceptions. Eg. "of", "then", "that" would normally have voiceless fricatives but they are voiced because they commonly occur between vowels, I guess, and that got generalized to every instance of these words.- by the rules I'm told, "this" should be /z/, but is /s/
- "is" is pronounced with /z/, but "us" with /s/ (except if unstressed)
Are there rules for this or is it just irregular and you have to memorise the pronunciation of each?
I have never heard this in my life. It is definitely /z/.One final thing: sometimes it seems to me that native speakers don't strictly adhere to the rules either (unless I'm mishearing): "Wales" is officially /z/, but usually it sounds like /s/ to me.
Babbsagg wrote:As for the noun/verb distinction, my first idea would be that historically, the verbs had -e endings like in some other Germanic languages, but have become silent while the consonant retained its voiced pronunciation.
Babbsagg wrote:What I get from this is that I'll never master the "perfect" Standard English pronunciation of everything, like many native speakers apparently don't. Maybe I'm too perfectionist (provided there's such a thing as "too perfectionist" in Germany).
vijayjohn wrote:Babbsagg wrote:Word-initial: S is always /s/.
Well, unless it's /ʃ/ or something.
linguoboy wrote:vijayjohn wrote:Babbsagg wrote:Word-initial: S is always /s/.
Well, unless it's /ʃ/ or something.
Are there any examples besides sugar and sure? The proper name Sade, I guess (being an abbreviation of Yoruba Fọláṣadé with a diacritic indicating palatalisation). And of course borrowings from German.
vijayjohn wrote:Oh, and of course Sean! (And Seon, apparently).
Woods wrote:At the moment, I'm listening to Walking In My Shoes by Depeche Mode and the singer is clearly saying "/traj wo:kiŋ in maj ʃu:s/" (even though I myself would rather pronounce it as /ʃu:z/).
Woods wrote:One more thing about the quote above: I'd say /'klowθs/, not /'klowθz/ (clothes) - okay, there's a vowel between th and s, but it's just in writing. Am I right?
Woods wrote:linguoboy (or somebody as pro as you) - can you sum up the rules? That will be absolutely great!
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