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Alveolar Fricatives

Description
The soft palate is raised and the nasal resonator shut ff. The blade of the
tongue makes a light contact with the upper alveolar ridge and the side rims of
the tongue make a close contact with the upper side teeth.
The air stream escapes through a narrow groove in the centre of the tongue
and causes friction between the tongue and the alveolar ridge. There is a very
little opening between the teeth.
The tip of the tongue is in contact with the lower teeth, so that friction is
produced between the blade of the tongue and the alveolar ridge.
The lip position will depend on the adjacent vowel – spread lip position for
«see» and «zeal», and rounded lip position for «soon» and «zoo».
Place of Articulation

Tongue + Alveolar Ridge


Muscular Effort

Voiced
The friction is voiced (with vibration of the vocal folds). It is Lenis because of the
need of less muscular energy to produce sound.
Muscular Effort

Voiceless
The friction is voiceless (without vibration of the vocal folds). It is Fortis because it
needs a stronger muscular effort to produce sound.
Spelling Forms

Voiceless
«S» → So
«SE» → Tense
«SS» → Kiss
«C» → Recieve
«CE» → Niece
«SC» → Science
«X» → Climax (/ks/)
Spelling Forms

Voiced
«S» → Bars
«SE» → Rose
«Z» → Zoo
«X» → Xilofone
«X» → Exact (/gz/)
Allophones

/S/ /Z/
No important allophonic Partially voiced when it occurs
variations. Depends on the initially (after silcente). I.E.
adjacent vowel. Zebra
May be completely devoiced
in final position (before
silence). I.E. Boys
Nouns or Verbs Ending in “S”

Rule #1: /s/ Rule #2: /z/ Rule #3: /iz/


When the noun When the noun When the noun
in the singular or in the singular or in the singular or
the verb in the the verb in the the verb in the
infinitive ends infinitive ends infinitive ends
ina voiceless ina voiced sound ina sibilant
consonant (other (vowel, semi sound (/s/, /z/, /ʃ/,
than s, ʃ, tʃ), the vowel, /tʃ/, /ʒ/, /dʒ/), the
plural form will consonants other plural form will
be pronounced than /z/, /ʒ/, be pronounced
/s/. I.E. «Keeps» /dʒ/), the plural /iz/. I.E.
- «Eats». form will be «Ilnesses» -
pronounced /z/. «Pushes»
I.E. «Studies» -
«Needs»
Advice for Foreign Learners

/s/ & /z/


In many languages, specially those where there are no dental
fricatives, /s/ and /z/ are articulated nearer to the teeth than
in the English language. Such dentalized articulation must
be avoided in English because of the danger of confusion
with /θ/ and /ð/. A more retracted articulation for /s/ and /z/
should be practised in opposition with /θ/ and /ð/ in pairs
such as: sing – thing; sort – though; close – clothe; mouse –
mouth.