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  • Plural nouns in English. Now we do actually  have rules for these. But there's a trick,  

  • there's a catch, there always is in English  pronunciation. We'll get to that.

  • A noun in English is made plural when we  add an S or ES to the end of the word.  

  • Guess what - this is the third person conjugation  of verbs too. So everything you learn here for  

  • the pronunciation plural nouns also applies to  the 3rd person conjugation. Yay! Two for one!

  • For S, we add a letter and a sound. Cat becomes  cats. Dog becomes dogs. But listen: catsssssss,  

  • dogzzzzzz, two different pronunciations of  that plural S. But then with certain words,  

  • like 'beach', the plural is an -es and it's  an extra syllable, beaches. BEACH-iz, iz, iz.

  • When to use which pronunciation? And what's  the trick I told you about at the beginning?

  • Use the 's' sound, like 'cat' becoming'cats', if  the final sound of the noun is p, t, k, f, or th.  

  • Did you notice what all of those  sounds have in common? p, t, k, f, th.  

  • They're all unvoiced. There's no vibration  in my vocal cords making that happen. [ð] --  

  • that's a voiced th. Th. these are all unvoicedThe S is also unvoiced. So is also unvoiced  

  • so the unvoiced S pronunciation goes  with these unvoiced sounds.

  • Cats, ships, books, coughs. Now look therethe final letter was an H and that's not in  

  • our list. But we're talking final soundsAnd the final sound of 'cough' is F. Cough,  

  • coughs. “There were quite a few coughs  in the audience, but I think we got a  

  • good recording of the concert.” And finallythe unvoiced TH, like in 'paths'. Paths.

  • THS is a tricky combination and one thatget questions about quite a bit. Ths, ths.  

  • Tongue tip just out to tongue tip just in. For  the S the tongue tip can be pointing down or up, I  

  • find it feels more natural to point down, ths,thsOne of the most common plural nouns THS ending is  

  • months, and good news, it has a shortcut. Instead  of saying 'months', most native speakers change  

  • that TH to a T and say 'months'. He's six months  old. “Months”. A little easier than ths.

  • Cough is a noun or a verbThird person conjugation,  

  • coughs. He coughs a lot. Remember, the third  person conjugation follows the same rule.  

  • So since the verb ends in F, this  S is unvoiced sss. Coughs.

  • One final thing to say about case 1: Next  words. If the next word begins with an S,  

  • you're just making 1 S sound to link  there. For example, the students sit here.  

  • Students sit, students sit. 1 S  to link to connect those words.

  • If the next word begins with a Z, that  beginning sound takes over the plural  

  • and we more or less drop the S sound. For  example, the cats zipped around the house. Cats  

  • zipped become 'cazipped', just  link with the 1 z sound.

  • Ok, case 1, done. Case 2 is where it  gets a little tricky with our habits.  

  • Before we get into that, I want to call  your attention to a new YouTube feature,  

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  • In case two, the final sound  is any vowel or diphthong,  

  • or one of these consonants, and that  plural is pronounced as a Z sound.

  • So let's take 'chairs' as our example, “chairz.”  Ending sound is a Z. Do you hear that? The  

  • vocal cords vibrate, making the difference  between Z and S. I'll alternate for you:

  • sss,zzz, sss,zzz sss,zzz.

  • So this ending here, in case  2 is a Z, zzz. Chairzzz.  

  • Except we don't actually pronounce it that  way. It's written in IPA with the Z sound,  

  • and yet it's not really a Z sound. Let's explore.  I'm using a voice recording app on my phone.  

  • I've recorded the word 'chair' with a clearstrong Z sound, chairzz, also a clear, strong  

  • S sound, chairss. Both sound unnatural, then  I've recorded it the way we say it: chairs.

  • Now what we see here, these blue lines,  

  • are the pitch. The note of the vibration of my  vocal cords. When a sound is unvoiced like sssss,  

  • you don't see any blue line. But if we see  a blue line, it's voiced, it's zzz, a z.

  • This first one here is me saying 'chairzwith an exaggerated z sound, zz,zz,  

  • a really strong clear z. Let's listen.

  • And if I bring my cursor here to the very end of  

  • that line of pitch right here and I play ityou'll see that there's not really any sound.  

  • So there's no S there ending. Now, in this  next one I really exaggerated the S sound.

  • Chairs

  • So we would not say it that really  strongly. Let me bring the cursor back here  

  • to the end of the vocal vibration  and let's see, do we hear an S?

  • Definitely, we hear a clear S.

  • So, when I exaggerate the S,  

  • we can definitely hear it and see  that there is no vocal cord vibration.

  • Okay now, the 3rd time I've recorded  me saying chairs the way that it's  

  • more normal in conversational  to say it, let's listen.

  • So the question is: Does that ending sound have  a Z quality or is it an S quality? Do we have  

  • an S sound with no voice in it? Let's see.

  • Yeah we do. It's super fast though  isn't it? It's not sss. That was s,s,s.  

  • So fast so weak but definitely not a z, that's an  s, a short quick S. That's the weak ending Z.

  • So the way we actually pronounce case 2, S  as [z] sound, is really an S, but a weak S,  

  • not a full S. Case 1, plurals  are pronounced as an S,  

  • you make a clear S. Case 2, plurals are pronounced  as a Z, but you make a WEAK S. Confusing,  

  • but true. The voiced ending Z sound is  weak. So weak that it sounds like a weak S.  

  • By making the S really weak, it sounds like  a Z in these endings. I know. It's crazy.

  • Let me just say a few of these plurals  for you. Notice you're not hearing zzz,  

  • a strong Z or Ss, a strong S.

  • Windows.

  • Foods.

  • Rooms.

  • The ending is: [weak s] A very  weak without much hearing it.

  • So where does that leave us with case 3? We'll  get to that in a second, but first a general  

  • note on weak ending sounds. This strong/weak  thing is true of all paired ending consonants.  

  • Let's take for example the word 'judge'.  It begins and ends ends in the J sound. JJ.  

  • The first one is clear, the second  one isn't because it's an ending J.

  • Jj. Judge. Jj. This ending is weak  especially if we compare it with the CH  

  • sound, the match. CH. CH. So the ending of  judge isn't Jj and it's not CH. It's ch,ch.  

  • A really weak version of the  unvoiced sound the CH. Judge.

  • Let's talk about linking it to another word.

  • If the next word after these  plurals begins with a Z,  

  • we link with one Z sound and it  does sound like a full clear Z.

  • For example, “the cars  zipped alongcarzzzzzipped.  

  • Strong Z because it also begins  the next word. Cars zipped,  

  • the cars zipped along. So there is no feel  of an S in the plural ending here, just Z.

  • But, if the next word begins with an S,  then you just hear a single S sound to link,  

  • no Z. For example, “the cars stopped.”  Carsssssstopped. Just an S sound.

  • Okay, Case: 3 for plural noun pronunciationIn case 3, we don't just add a sound,  

  • we add a syllable. It's unstressed, and it's  IH, Z. You already know what I'm going to say  

  • about that ending Z. It's a weak ending  sound, so it's actually more like weak  

  • S, without, zzzz, that vibration in  the vocal cords. This ending is ss, ss.

  • This is the plural noun pronunciation  if the final sound of the noun is S,  

  • likebase”. Base becomes bases.

  • We need to cover all our bases.

  • Bases, iz, iz, weak ending sound. This is so  similar yet different from the word 'basis'. There  

  • the ending sound is the S sound, it's a little  stronger. Basis. So we have bases and basis.

  • To make things extra confusingthe plural of 'basis' is this word,  

  • spelled like the plural of 'base', but pronounced  with an EE vowel in the second syllable, baseez.  

  • So the plural of 'base' is 'bases', and the  plural of 'basis' is 'bases', spelled the same as  

  • 'bases' but pronounced slightly  differently. Oh goodness.

  • Our other ending sounds for case  3 are zz, sh, zh, ch, and jj.  

  • So Rose, ending with a Z sound, becomes  roses. Two syllables. Rash becomes  

  • rashes. Garage becomes garages. Batch  becomes batches, and judge becomes judges.

  • Just like in case 2, if we link into a  Z it sounds like a Z. The judges zoned  

  • out during the boring presentation. Judges  zoned, Here we hear the Z, zz. Judges zoned.  

  • Judges zoned. If these words link into a word that  begins with an S, we hear an S. Judges saw. Judges  

  • saw The judges saw everything. There they are. Your three cases for pronouncing  

  • plural nouns. Case 1, the noun ends in one  of these sounds, the plural is pronounced as an S.

  • Case 2, the noun ends in one of these  sounds, the plural is pronounced as a S which  

  • is really more like a weak Z. Case  three, the noun ends in one of these  

  • sounds and we add 'iz' at the end of the wordanother syllable, again with the weak ending Z  

  • sounding like a weak S. Practicing  the pronunciation of plural nouns,  

  • what could be more fun? Nothing, I think.   

  • Thank you so much for joining me here and please

  • do like the video and subscribe with  notifications. We discuss interesting  

  • things about English, mostly about American  English pronunciation here on this channel  

  • every week and I'd love to see you back. That's it  and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

Plural nouns in English. Now we do actually  have rules for these. But there's a trick,  

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B1 sound plural weak unvoiced ch noun

? DON'T *MESS UP* these PLURAL NOUNS! | 3 cases in American English

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/19
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