- English has rules, but there are so many exceptions to those rules. We have numerous irregular verbs, for example. Instead of being able to apply one rule, students are forced to memorize many endings for all of the irregular verbs.
This week, I taught one of my clients how pronouncing the letter “s” can be different, depending on the sound that comes before the “s.”
When a voiceless sound appears right before the “s,” you pronounce the “s” with a /s/ sound, as in snake. Some examples are: likes, apps, cats.
When a voiced sound appears right before the letter “s,” you pronounce the “s” with a /z/ sound, as in zoo. Some examples are: kids, dogs, tables, exams, cans, scissors.
Remember that all vowel sounds are voiced, so words with -es spellings will also be pronounced with a /z/ sound. Some examples are: heroes, boxes, pushes.
My student learned this concept very quickly yesterday. I hope that was just as easy for you too!
Speech perception is not only hearing the sounds another person speaks, but also interpreting and understanding those sounds. It’s being able to tell the difference between the words, “pat” and “bat.”
You may be thinking, “I don’t need help understanding people. I need help with my pronunciation.” What you may not realize, though, is that improving your speech perception will help you improve your accent too.
Why is speech perception important to learning how to improve my accent?
The first step in improving your accent is learning to hear the difference between what you’re saying and what you should be saying in order for others to understand you more clearly. You may, for example, be substituting one sound for another or not saying the target sound at all. If you cannot hear the difference between the wrong sound you are pronouncing (error) and the sound you should be saying (target sound), it will be difficult to change your accent.