Decoding exercises: "ss"
In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, "ss" normally corresponds to the IPA phonetic symbol /s/ in words like "class" or "possible". In a few words "ss" is pronounced /z/, as in "dessert" or "scissors". In combination with a vowel "ss" is often pronounced /ʃ/ as in "issue" or "discussion".
- In final position: access - across - address - business - class - cross - discuss - dress - express - guess - less - loss - miss - pass - press - process - success
- In middle position: asset - assessment - associate - assume - essential - impossible - lesson - message - necessary - passenger - possible - professor - successful
This list is fairly complete (obvious derivatives are not included).
- In middle position: AussieBrE - brassiere - dessert - dissolve - hussar (a soldier) - Missouri - possess - possession - scissors - Tassie (from Tasmania, also spelled Tazzie)
- "ssi": commission - depression - discussion - expression - impression - mission - passion - possession - professional - Russia - session
- "ssu": assure - issue - pressure - tissue
Commonly confused words
- dessert (sweet food) /dɪˈzɜːrt/ - desert (abandon) /dɪˈzɜːrt/ - desert (dry place) /ˈdezərt/
Two different syllables
- disservice, dyssomnia, misspeak, misspell
/z.s/ or /s.s/
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.
Beginner Spanish speakers may pronounce "ssi" as /sj/. For example "discussion" can be pronounced *, which is similar to Spanish [diskuˈsjon].
- Decoding the letter S
- Pronunciation and decoding exercises: /s/ vs /z/
- Advanced decoding exercises: /s/ vs /z/