Home > GENERAL > Let’s Learn /s/ and /z/ Sound

Let’s Learn /s/ and /z/ Sound

This phenomenon is common for parents who have child that has difficulty in /s/ and /z/ sounds production. It is known as Speech Sound Disorder . /s/ and z/ sounds are late bloomers sounds that the child may acquire it from age of three to eight years old. See Speech Sound Development Chart.

How to produce /s/ and /z/ sounds?

There are two techniques for production of /s/ and /z/ sounds:

First technique: /s/ sound

  • Place the tip of the tongue behind upper teeth,
    close to the roof of the mouth without touching it.
  • Side of the tongue touch the upper teeth, allows air
    escape through the middle area of the tongue.
  • Spread the lips exactly likes “smile” position.
  • /s/ sound is unvoiced sound. So, vocal folds are
    not vibrates.

Source: www.myenglishclub.com

First technique: /z/ sound

  • Lips and tongue positions are similar as
    production of /s/ sound.
  • However, pressure been given when air escape
    through the mouth. The vocal folds vibrate.
  • /z/ is a voice sound.

Source: www.myenglishclub.com

Second technique: /s/ and /z/ sounds

  • Tip of the tongue touch front lower teeth.
  • Raise back of the tongue until side of the tongue touch the upper teeth.
  • There are place in the middle of the tongue that allows air escape through it.
  • /s/ is unvoiced sound. Vocal folds are not vibrates.
  • Vibration of vocal folds for /z/ sound production.

Videos for production of /s/ and /z/ sounds

What errors that usually occur?

Below are the error patterns that usually occur in the conversation:

Process

Example

Description

Substitution to plosive sound

 /sick/ ? /tick/

/zip/ ? /dip/

Children substituted the fricative sound /s,z/ to the plosive sound /p,b,t,k,g’. This process disappears approximately around three to five years old.
Substitution of /s/ or /z/ sound to back sound

 /sun/ ? /shun/

Children substituted the fricative /s,z/ to back sound /sh,ch,j/
Deletion of /s/ or /z/ sound

 /sit/ ? /it/

/zoo/ ? /u/

This process occurred when a child delete the sound either at the initial, middle or final position of word.

What are the strategies to produce /s/ and /z/ sound?

Below are some of the strategies used to help in the production of /s/ and /z/ :

  1. Verbal Prompt
    1. Produce the target sound clearly and accurately.
    2. Give time for the child to listen, process and imitate the sound.
    3. If the child is able to say it correctly, move on to syllables (e.g:/as/, /asa/, /sa/ or /iz/, /izi/, /zi/), words (e.g: /sock/, /bus/,/zoo/, /zebra/), sentences and conversational level.
  2. Visual Prompt
    1. Practice in front of the mirror.
    2. Place the index finger at the side of the lips.
    3. Pull the index finger until reach the ears while produce /s/ or /z/ sound.
  3. Tactile Prompt
    1. Put the hand in front of the child’s mouth.
    2. Produce /s/ or /z/ sound.
    3. Let the child feels the air that escapes from the mouth.
    4. Place the other hand at the neck area to feel the vibration of vocal fold when produce /z/ sound.
  4. Retraining Tongue Placement
    1. Bring the tip of the tongue touch the upper front teeth.
    2. Close the teeth tightly.
    3. From the /t/ sound position of the tongue, pull back the tongue until reach the behind upper teeth while produce the air.
    4. Spread the lips like “smile” position.
  5. Butterfly Procedure
    1. Used for child who makes the error of substitution of fricative sound. E.g: /sock/ ?/ /shock/
    2. Imagery likes strong vs floppy wings; where the child is able to feel the air that escapes through the side of the mouth.
    3. Air should escape through the middle area of the tongue.

Let’s Practice!!!!

Below are some of the /s/ and /z/ in word level.

 

Early

Middle

End

 /s/ Sound

 Sock
Sick
Sand
Six
Soap
Seven

Ice-cream
Bicycle
Basket
Muscle
Castle
Whistle

 Bus
Nose
Boss
Blouse
Class
Face
Mouse

 /z/ Sound

 Zoo
Zebra
Zip
Zero
Zone
Zoom

Pizza
Lizard
Puzzle
Scissors
Dessert
Daisy

Buzz
Gaze
Fizz
Size
Haze
Doze

Videos of the /s/ and /z/ sound production at initial, medial and final position in word

  1. Production of /s/ sound at initial, medial and final position in word
  2. Production of /z/ sound at initial, medial and final position in word

Do You Have The Same Problem? Do You Need Help?

Don’t wait! Please see Speech therapist nearby for help….

References

  1. Bowen, C. (2011, November, 14): Butterfly procedure. Posted in http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id= 48:butterfly&catid=11:admin&Itemid=121
  2. McLeod, S. (2009). Speech sound acquisition. In J. E. Bernthal, N. W. Bankson & P. Flipsen Jnr (Eds.), Articulation and phonological disorders: Speech sound disorder in children (6th ed., pp 63-120 + 385-405). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
  3. Smit, Hand, Freilinger, Bernthal, and Bird (1990), Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorder, 55, 779-798, from therapytoolbox.com/blog-entry/milestones-acquisition-speech sound
  4. Sowrian, G. (2012, September 21). Improve Your Pronunciation-Study Session 8. Posted to http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/08-improve-your-pronunciation-study-session-8
  5. Templin, 1957; Wellman et al., 1931, in Sanders-Journal Of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 1973, from www.nona-cdc.com/SPEECH SOUND DEVELOPMENT CHART
Last Reviewed : 10 March 2016
Writer / Translator : Nurul Haslina bt. Mohd Zin
Accreditor : Marina bt. Abdul Malek