Unvoiced palato-alveolar sibilant
/ʃ/ is a fricative; its affricate counterpart is IPA phoneme /tʃ/.
- with "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
- with "ss":
- with "ssi": commission - depression - discussion - expression - impression - mission - professional - Russia - session
- with "ssu": assure - issue - pressure - tissue
- with "ti":
- with "tio": action - assumption - condition - definition - education - function - generation - information - location - mention - nation - option - rational - station - tradition - variation
- with "tia": essential - initial - initiative - partial - potential - substantial
- with "tie": patience - patient
- with "ci": efficient - musician - racial - special
- with "ce": ocean
- with "s": Asia /ˈeɪʃə/ or /ˈeɪʒə/ - sugar - sure
- "x" as /kʃ/: anxious
- with "ch": machine
/ʃ/ or /s/
Less common words
- with "sh": bush, shampoo
- with "si": controversial
- with "ssi": aggression, obsession
- with "sc": conscience, conscious, fascism
- with "ci": delicious, electrician, malicious, politician
- with "ce": cetacean, crustacean
- "x" as /kʃ/: crucifixion, flexion
In words of French origin /ʃ/ can be spelled "ch".
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] or even [etʃ.ɾek], and in Latin America it is pronounced [ʃ.ɾek] or [ʃe.ɾek], but most likely [tʃ.ɾek].
Argentinians have the [ʃ] sound in their Spanish /ʝ/ phoneme, in words like "ayer" [aˈʃer] and "llamar" [ʃaˈmar]. They may confuse /ʃ/ and /j/ ("yes" pronounced as ). Many of them use [ʃ] for IPA phoneme /dʒ/ ("jet" pronounced as ).
- Decoding exercises: "sh"
- Decoding exercises: "sion"
- Decoding exercises: "ss"
- Pronunciation exercises: /ʃ/ vs /tʃ/
- Pronunciation exercises: /ʒ/ vs /ʃ/
- IPA phoneme /s/
- IPA phoneme /ʒ/