IPA phoneme /ʃ/

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Revision as of 18:25, 14 October 2015 by Ghoti (talk | contribs) (Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1: typo)


shoe /ʃuː/

IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
dress face square
ɪ ɪə
kit fleece near
ɒ əʊ ɔː
lot goat taught
ʊ ʊə
foot goose mature
juː jʊə
cute cure
ʌ ə ɜː
strut comma nurse
price mouth choice
IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see
IPA Stress
ˈ Primary stress
hotel /həʊˈtel/
ˌ Secondary stress
IPA Syllabification
. nitrate /ˈnaɪ.treɪt/, night-rate /ˈnaɪt.reɪt/

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".

/ʃ/ is an unvoiced consonant; its voiced counterpart is IPA phoneme /ʒ/.

Common words

  • as "sh": cash - crash - dish - establish - fashion - finish - fish - flash - fresh - push - relationship - shake - shall - shape - share - she - shift - shine - ship - shock - shoe - shoot - shop - short - should - shoulder - show - wash - wish
  • as "ss":
as "ssi": commission - depression - discussion - expression - impression - mission - professional - Russia - session
as "ssu": assure - issue - pressure - tissue
  • as "ti":
as "tio": action - assumption - condition - definition - 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

/ʃ/ or /s/

  • associate

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 - moustacheBrE - mustacheAmE - 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/ as 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