IPA phoneme /ʃ/

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shoe /ʃuː/

In Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /ʃ/ corresponds to the initial consonant sound in words like "shoe", and "she" and the final one in "push" and "fish".

Common words

  • as "sh": cash - crash - dish - fashion - flash - push - she - shine - shoe - shop - should - wash
  • as "ss": assure - discussion - expression - issue - mission - pressure - professional - Russia - tissue
  • as "ti":
as "tio": action - condition - definition - depression - education - function - generation - information - location - mention - nation - option - question - rational - station - tradition - variation
as "tia": essential - initial - initiative - partial - potential - substantial
as "tie": patience - patient
  • as "ci": efficient - musician - racial - special
  • as "ce": ocean
  • as "s": Asia /ˈeɪʃə/ or /ˈeɪʒə/ - sugar - sure
  • "x" as /kʃ/: anxious
  • as "ch": machine

Less common words

  • as "sh": bush
  • "ss": aggression - obsession
  • "x" as /kʃ/: crucifixion - flexion

In words of French origin /ʃ/ can be spelled "ch".

  • brochure - cache - champagne - chauffeur - chef - Chicago - parachute

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 sections aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.


While Spanish does have /tʃ/, it doesn't have /ʃ/, so there'll be a tendency to pronounce "shoes" as "choose", "shop" as "chop" and "sheet" as "cheat" (this latter example having another, notorious pronunciation difficulty...). Likewise, practice is needed with /ʒ/ vs /ʃ/, as in pleasure, leisure, etc.

It is very difficult for Spanish speakers to pronounce the combination /ʃr/ and in "shrimp". In Spain the movie Shrek is pronounced [eʃ.ɾek] and in Latin America it is pronounced [ʃ.ɾek] or [ʃe.ɾek].

See also

External links